Learn the Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game of skill, psychology, and attrition. In addition to having a good bankroll, you need to understand how to play and the basics of strategy. Learn the basic rules and terminology to get started.

Poker requires players to form the strongest possible hand from their individual cards and community cards. The highest-ranking hand wins the pot. The strongest hand is a Royal Flush (10-Jack-Queen-King-Ace of the same suit). Other common hands include Straight, Full House, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, and High Card.

To start, shuffle and deal four hands of hole cards face down to each player, then assess them. Repeat this for the flop (also known as “fourth street”), then again for the river (or “fifth street”). Practice this routine until you can assess each hand’s advantage without delay. Once you’ve mastered this basic skillset, poker math will begin to be automatic for you. You’ll be able to count frequencies and calculate expected value quickly, and your intuition will become stronger for considering things like combos and blockers.

In most poker games, the first round of betting starts with a forced bet called an ante. This bet helps the game develop a pot right away, encouraging competition and potentially leading to bluffing. The rest of the money that is bet in each round goes into a separate pot, called the side pot. The main pot is accumulated from players’ calls in the last betting round.