A Beginner’s Guide to Poker


Poker is a card game in which players independently try to assemble the best five-card hand. The game is played with a standard 52-card deck and can be played by two to seven players. The object is to win the pot, a sum of money (or chips representing currency) bet by all players in each deal. A player can win the pot by either making the highest-ranking hand or bluffing other players in order to force them to put more money into the pot.

A good poker strategy involves reading the other players at your table, and learning from their mistakes. You also need to understand poker etiquette, which is largely the same as basic social etiquette. You must be respectful of other players and dealers, don’t disrupt the gameplay or argue with other players, and tip your dealer and serving staff.

You start the game by putting in a small amount of money, called an ante, into the pot. A round of betting then commences, with one player having the privilege or obligation to place the first bet, depending on the rules of the particular poker variant.

When it’s your turn to bet, you can say “call” to match the previous player’s bet or raise it. You can also fold your cards if you don’t think you have a good enough hand. Remember, luck can make or break your poker hands, but it’s important to play aggressively throughout a hand.