The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game played around a table with chips. It is a betting game and can be played in hundreds of variations, but there are a few basic rules that apply to most games.

How to Play

Players place bets in the middle of the table and take turns calling, raising, and folding their cards. When they call a bet, they are matching the amount of the current open bet or raise and if they raise they increase the amount of the current bet.

Betting rounds begin with one player putting in a small amount of money and are repeated until the betting is equalized or all but one player folds. After the last round, a showdown takes place where each player’s hand is revealed and the best hand wins the pot.

High card

In poker, each hand is valued based on the highest card. If two hands have the same high card, the highest second card breaks a tie.


A pair is two cards that are the same number, for example, two six’s is considered a low pair. The highest pair is worth the most in poker.


A straight is a five-card hand consisting of a running sequence of cards, regardless of suit. If two hands have identical straights, the straight of the higher card wins.

The best way to win at poker is to understand your opponent’s strategy and know when to act aggressively and when to be patient. If you have a pair of Kings, for example, but the other player has a pair of eights, they’ll think twice about going head-to-head with you unless they can see a good betting pattern that will support their hand.