The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game for two or more players. It involves betting on the strength of a hand and can be played for money or just for fun. The rules of poker vary from one game to another, but the overall goal is to win a pot by raising bets higher than those made by other players. Players make decisions based on probability, psychology and game theory, but luck also plays a significant role in the outcome of each hand.

If you have a strong hand, bet high to force weaker hands out of the pot. You can also bluff to create mysticism and get other players to act rashly, even though they have a good hand. For example, you could pretend that you have three kings and raise bets so that everyone else will believe that you have a strong hand and raise their own bets.

The player to the left of the dealer places a small amount of money (the ante) into the pot before they are dealt cards. Once the cards are dealt, betting begins in clockwise order. When you are in position to place a bet, say “I call” or “I raise” to indicate that you will place the same amount as the player before you.

The highest ranked hand is the Royal Flush, which consists of five consecutive cards in the same suit, ranked ace through ten. Ties are broken by the high card.