The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players wager money (representing chips) against each other. The player with the highest hand wins. The game is played from a standard pack of 52 cards (with some variant games using more) with four suits: spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs. Some games have wild cards, known as jokers, to add more variation.

The first deal of the game gives each player two cards face down. Then there are one or more betting intervals depending on the game. In the final betting interval each player reveals his/her cards. The player with the best five-card hand wins the pot.

In the case of a tie, the highest pair breaks it. One pair is two matching cards of the same rank, three of a kind is three cards of the same rank and the straight is five consecutive cards of the same suit.

When playing poker, the most valuable tells come from watching a player’s betting pattern and observing his/her body language. The reliability of each tell varies so it takes practice to learn which are the strongest and weakest.

For example, a player who quickly calls a bet probably has a strong hand while a player who lingers over his/her decision might have a weak hand. Watching a player’s hands and fingers for signs of strength or weakness can be very useful as well. Players who are bluffing will often move their hands more rapidly to indicate strength.