The Basics of Poker

Poker is a game of chance when there is no betting, but when players bet it becomes a game of skill and psychology. It is important to understand the fundamentals of the game before you learn anything else. The game starts with an initial amount of money called antes, blinds or bring-ins being put into the pot by the players to the left of the dealer. This is required before any cards are dealt and gives the players an incentive to play.

Once all players have 2 hole cards a round of betting begins. When betting comes around to you (it always goes clockwise) you have the choice of hitting, calling or raising. Saying “hit” means you want to receive another card from the dealer and will compete against other players for a higher value hand. “Stay” means you want to stay with your current 2 cards. “Raise” means you will raise the previous bet by an amount equal to the previous bet.

A high value hand is a pair of kings or better. A flush is 5 consecutive cards of the same suit (like clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades). Three of a kind is 3 matching cards of one rank. Two pair is two cards of one rank and two cards of another, or just the same card twice. A pair of straights is five consecutive cards, of different ranks but from the same suit (like 4 aces and a 5). The highest hand is a Royal flush which includes a 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of one suit.

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