The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game of chance where you bet on the value of your cards against the other players’ hands. The player with the best five-card hand wins the pot. The game has many variations, but they all share the basic rules of being dealt cards and betting in a series of rounds. The basic strategy involves assessing the other players’ hand, raising when you have faith in your own, and folding when you think you can’t win or that you can’t afford to continue betting.

Depending on the game, one or more players must put in an initial amount of money into the pot before they see their cards. These are called forced bets and come in three forms: antes, blinds, and bring-ins. These bets create a pot of money immediately and encourage competition among the players.

When it is your turn to act, you must say “call” if you wish to add your chips to the pot. If the player to your left has raised, you must say “raise” if you wish to match their bet and add more to the pot.

As you become more familiar with the game, it is helpful to memorize a chart that tells what hands beat what. For example, a straight beats a flush and three of a kind beats two pair. This will help you to decide whether or not to call a bet and will give you confidence in the decisions you make.