How to Play Poker

Poker is a card game where players make bets on their hand to win the pot. Each player is dealt five cards and the highest hand wins the pot. There are many variations of poker and each has its own rules and strategy.

In order to play poker, you must first understand the game’s basic rules. Then you will need to learn the different types of bets and how to read the board. Once you have this understanding, you can start playing poker for real money.

Before the start of a hand, each player must place an amount of chips (representing money) into the pot, called an ante. Then the players bet in a round with raising and re-raising allowed.

The dealer button is a token used to indicate which player has the right to act first in each betting round. The button is rotated around the table in a clockwise direction. The first person to the left of the button begins each betting round by placing a bet. Then each player can decide whether to call, raise or fold his or her hand.

When the initial betting round is complete three cards are put on the table for everyone to see, called the flop. After the flop, another betting round starts with the first player to the left of the button placing the highest bet.

After the third betting round is completed a fifth community card will be revealed on the table. Then the fourth and final betting round begins with players having to make a decision on whether they will continue to the showdown with their poker hand.

High Card

If no one has a pair or better then the highest single card wins. If two hands have the same high card then it is a tie. Then the second highest card breaks the tie.

Two Pair

If a hand has two distinct pairs of cards then it wins. If there is a tie then the higher pair wins.


If your poker hand has five matching cards then it is a flush. If there is a tie then the highest card breaks the tie.


If you have five consecutive cards then you have a straight. If there is a tie then the lowest card wins.

A Royal Flush

A royal flush is the highest possible poker hand. It consists of the ace, king, queen, jack, and ten of the same suit.


As a beginner, it is best to avoid bluffing. It is very hard to get the price you want when bluffing and you will often be wrong about your opponent’s range of hands. Moreover, bluffing is very risky and can lead to big losses. Instead, it is much more profitable to learn about relative hand strength and how to calculate your opponents’ odds of having a specific hand. This will help you to make the most accurate calls and raises. This way, you can maximize your chances of winning the pot.