How to Play Poker

Poker is a card game in which players compete against each other to assemble a winning hand of cards — traditionally, for cash or poker chips. The game is played in rounds, with betting taking place between each round. The aim is to make the best five-card poker hand from your own two personal cards and the three community cards on the table.

In the first step, shuffle and deal four hands of hole cards face down. Then, assess each hand, observing the relative advantage of each one. Then, deal the flop and repeat the process of assessing the hands. Finally, the dealer deals a fifth community card, known as the river, and you once again get the chance to assess your hands.

If you are in the first position to the left of the dealer, you start by checking for blackjack (which is a pair of 2s) and then betting with your own two cards. You can also draw replacement cards to add to your hand if you believe the value is too low for what you have.

You can say “call” if you want to bet the same amount as the person to your right, and “raise” to add more money to the pot. This is usually done when you have a strong hand. Alternatively, you can fold, meaning you give up your cards. Sometimes this is a good idea, as weak hands can often be bluffed away by more confident players.