Poker is a card game that involves betting. It can be played with two people or many. Each player places a bet before they see their hand. This creates a pot and encourages competition. There is some skill in poker, but it is mostly a game of chance.
To start playing poker you will need a deck of cards and a place to play. Then you will need to decide how much money to put in the pot. Typically the first bet will be small and the second will be big. This is called the ante and bet.
You will also need chips. These can be bought at a casino or online. They are worth different amounts and have different colors and designs. A white chip is usually worth the minimum ante bet, a red chip is worth five whites and a blue chip is worth ten whites. The color and design of the chips help players keep track of their bets and chips.
The dealer then deals three cards face up on the table that everyone can use. This is called the flop. After the first betting round is complete the dealer puts a fourth card on the board that everyone can use. This is called the turn. Once again everyone gets the chance to call, raise or fold their hands.
Once all the betting is done the fifth and final card is revealed on the table which is called the river. This is the last chance for players to make their best five card poker hand. The player with the highest ranked hand wins the pot.
To make a poker hand you must have at least two distinct pairs of cards and a high card that breaks ties. A pair is two cards of the same rank. A flush is three consecutive cards of the same suit, for example two hearts and two diamonds. A straight is five consecutive cards of the same rank. A royal flush is the highest possible hand consisting of a King, Queen, Jack and Ace of one suit only.
You should always remember that the flop will change your hand dramatically. You may still have a strong hand but it can be destroyed by the flop if your opponents make better hands than you do. For example if you have pocket kings and the flop is A-8-5 your hand is likely to be destroyed. This is why it’s important to be wary of playing a strong hand pre-flop.