The Basics of Poker


In poker, players make a bet (the amount varies by game) and then are dealt cards. Each player has two personal cards, plus five community cards to make a 5-card hand. The highest hand wins. A royal flush is the best hand – an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and 10 of the same suit. Other high hands are straight flush, four of a kind, three of a kind, and two pairs. The highest card breaks ties if both players have the same hand.

If you have a strong hand, don’t be afraid to bet a lot to build the pot and chase off other players with weaker hands. This is how top players win a big percentage of the money in the pot.

When you don’t have a good hand, fold. This saves you a lot of money and keeps you away from tables where the players are better than you.

The first player to the left of the dealer must make a bet (the amount varying by game, our games start at a nickel). When betting gets around to you, you can choose whether to call the new bet, raise it, or fold.

After everyone has made a decision (calling, raising, or folding) the dealer will “burn” one of the cards and then deal the top three cards of the remaining deck in the middle of the table, known as the flop. The players that advanced to the flop then commence another betting round.