A Beginner’s Guide to Poker


Poker is a card game in which players bet money into a central pot in order to win a hand. The winning hand is determined by the highest-ranking combination of cards.

A poker player must be able to read their opponent and know what actions they will take in order to improve their chances of winning. This can include learning their idiosyncrasies, eye movements, hand gestures and betting behavior.

Basics of the Game

In most games, the dealer deals two cards to each player. These are kept secret from the rest of the table. The players may then fold their hands, call or raise, or they can choose to bet a certain amount of money into the betting pool.

Betting Intervals

During each of the rounds between the initial deal and the showdown, players bet into the pot in order to increase their chances of winning the hand. When the betting is finished, the bets are gathered into the central pot and the round ends.


When a hand is revealed, the best five-card poker hand wins the pot. This hand can be a straight, a flush, or a five-card poker hand consisting of three of a kind and a pair.

The rank of standard poker hands is determined by their odds (probability). Two or more identical hands tie and divide any winning equally. In some games, wild cards can be used to break ties, such as a five-card ace-king hand or a four-card straight flush.