The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game of chance, but it also involves strategy and psychology. It is played with a standard deck of 52 cards (or more, depending on the variant). The highest ranking hand is the royal flush. Other high hands include three distinct pairs, four of a kind, straights and flushes. Some games use wild cards, while others are played from a fixed set of cards (usually one or more sets) and include jokers as well as the traditional suits.

At the start of a betting round, each player puts into the pot an amount equal to or greater than the minimum ante or blind bet. This is known as “calling.” If you do not want to call, you can say “raise,” which increases the total bet for that round. If you have a good value hand, raising early in the betting will make your opponent think twice about calling your bets and may help you get more money out of your strong hand.

Poker is almost always played with poker chips. Each player has a supply of a number of chips, usually worth whites and/or reds. Whites are valued at a minimum of the ante or blind, while reds can be worth up to five whites. Often players buy in for several chips to begin the game, and then continue to purchase additional chips during the course of play as their bankroll grows. This allows them to increase the size of their bets as they get more experience.