How to Play Poker


Poker is a game of chance but it also involves a lot of skill. While the outcome of any individual hand will involve a certain amount of luck, most money placed in the pot is done by players who are making decisions on the basis of probability, psychology and game theory.

In its simplest form, you play poker by betting over a series of rounds over which the player with the best five card poker hand wins the pot. But there are many subtle variations in the rules that govern how to make bets, raise them and fold them.

Each player is dealt two cards and then bets on them. If you have a good hand you can call to see the flop, raise it or fold your cards. You should only bet if you think you have a good chance of winning.

After the first round of betting, the dealer deals three additional cards face up on the table. These are community cards that anyone can use. The second betting interval begins and you can check, raise or fold as the player to your left does.

A good poker hand is a straight or flush. A straight has 5 consecutive cards of the same suit and a flush is made up of any five card sequence that skips around in rank. A three of a kind is made up of three matching cards and a pair is two unmatched cards.