The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game that requires quick instincts, good observation skills and a willingness to learn. The best players possess several shared traits: they are patient and read other players well, they know how to calculate pot odds, and they develop strategies that maximize their chances of winning.

Poker is played with a standard pack of 52 cards, although some variant games use multiple packs or add jokers. The cards are ranked (from high to low) Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten, with the highest hand being five of a kind. Some poker games allow players to choose a single card as a wild card, which can take on the rank of any other card in the hand.

After the first betting round each player gets two personal cards face down and the dealer puts a fifth community card on the table in the middle (called the flop). At this point players can now make a combination of five cards from their own two and the five community cards. The best hand wins the pot.

If two hands have the same rank, the one with the higher pair or three of a kind wins. If no hand has a pair or three of a kind, ties are broken using the high card rule. Four of a kind is also a high hand, and when that beats a straight, the high suit breaks the tie.