The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players place bets into the pot at the end of each hand. The highest hand wins the pot. The game originated in culturally French territory, and has several ancestors including Poque (French, 17th – 18th centuries), Glic (German, 16th – 17th centuries), Post and Pair (English, 17th & 18th centuries), and Brag (18th century).

Throughout the course of a hand, you may need to make a decision on whether or not to call, raise, or fold. The objective is to form a high value poker hand based on the cards you hold, and the community cards on the table.

There are five main poker hands: Full House – 3 matching cards of one rank and 2 matching cards of another. Straight – 5 consecutive cards that skip around in rank but don’t have to be from the same suit. Flush – 5 cards of the same suit. Pair – Two distinct pairs of cards, each consisting of two of the same rank. High Card – The highest card breaks ties.

Beginners should stick with a tight strategy and avoid playing crazy hands. They should play only the top 20% of hands in a six player game and 15% in a ten-player game. This will allow them to build the pot and force opponents to fold their weaker hands. They should also practice bluffing, but this should be used sparingly and only against players who are easy to read.