How to Play Poker

Poker is a card game where you place bets in a circle based on how strong your hand is. It’s a great social game, and you can often get a lesson for free from someone at your local casino or even online. Then you can practice hands at home with your friends and even play for nominal money, such as matchsticks or counters, to get a feel for how the game works.

When the dealer deals out 2 hole cards to everyone there’s a round of betting that starts with the players to the left of the button (the player who puts in the mandatory bets called blinds). Then 3 more cards are dealt face up on the table which anyone can use, this is the flop. After a further round of betting a fourth card is put on the board which anyone can use (the turn) and then another round of betting takes place. The person with the best five-card poker hand wins the pot.

A strong poker hand contains any three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another rank or one pair of distinct cards plus a high card which breaks ties. A flush is 5 cards of consecutive rank but from more than one suit. A straight is 5 cards of consecutive ranks but not in a sequence and a full house is any four of a kind plus one matching card.