The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players bet into the pot with chips. The game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards, and chips are used to represent the value of the bets made. A white chip is worth the minimum ante, or blind bet; a red chip is worth five whites; and a blue chip is worth 10 whites. The players buy in for a certain amount of chips and then play each hand for the amount of money that they have invested in the pot.

The rank of standard poker hands is determined by their odds (probability). Typically, the highest-ranking hand is a royal flush, consisting of a Jack, Queen, King and Ace of one suit only. Other high-ranking hands include four of a kind and straights. Ties are broken by the higher pair.

Having the best position gives you more information about your opponents and makes bluffing easier. Players in early positions tend to be more aggressive, and players in late position are more conservative.

Pay attention to how your opponents bet and try to read them. While some of the information about your opponent’s betting behavior can be gleaned from subtle physical tells, many of the best poker reads are based on patterns in their betting. For example, if a player consistently raises in the early stages of a hand, you can assume they have a strong hand. Conversely, if someone always folds they are probably playing a weak hand.