The Basics of Poker


When you play poker, you have seven cards that you can use to create a hand. Two of these are your own, and five of them are community cards that are revealed to all players. You must make the best possible five-card poker hand out of these to win. Some games also allow you to draw replacement cards if you’re dealt a bad hand.

The first round of betting, called the flop, happens when three cards are revealed to the table and you place your chips into the pot in accordance with the rules of your game. If you have a good starting hand, such as a pair of aces, you can bet aggressively to build up your chips in the pot. If you don’t, you can fold and wait for a better hand.

There is often an additional betting interval after the flop, called the turn, that takes place when another card is revealed. During this betting round, you may call, check or raise the previous player’s bet. You can also put your entire stack into the pot, which is called all-in.

The more you play, the more you’ll develop instincts for when to play different hands. For example, you can start to notice how aggressive players are with their draws by how they bet and how often they raise their opponents. This allows you to read them more easily and can help you bluff effectively against weaker opponents.