Poker is a card game with many variations. It is mostly a game of chance but betting adds a large element of skill and psychology into the mix. This article is meant as a basic primer into the rules of poker, for more information read a book on the game or play with a group of friends who know the rules.
A round of betting begins after each player has received their two hole cards. The first bets are mandatory bets called blinds placed into the pot by players to the left of the dealer. This makes sure that everyone has a stake in the hand and provides an incentive to continue playing.
When the first bets are made each player must either call, raise or fold. If a player calls the bet they must put the same amount of chips into the pot as the player before them. If a player raises the bet they must increase the amount of chips they are putting into the pot. If a player folds they must discard their hand and will not be part of the next betting round.
On the flop the dealer deals three cards face up to the table which anyone can use. There is a second betting round and then another card is dealt which again anyone can use. There is a final betting round and then the players will reveal their hands. The player with the highest hand wins the pot. Ties are broken by the high card which is any card that does not qualify as a pair, flush or straight.
The best starting hands in poker are pairs of kings or queens and aces. These are great poker cards that can easily beat most other hands. However, a lot of players tend to get too attached to these good hands and will call bets they should not. This is especially true if the flop has lots of straight and flush cards. A bad flop can spell disaster for a premium hand so make sure to pay attention to the board and always be aware of what other players have in their hands.