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The Basics of Poker

In poker players put up a sum of money called the pot before they are dealt cards. This is known as an ante, blind or bring-in depending on the game rules. The aim of the game is to win as many chips as possible during rounds of betting by having the highest ranked poker hand or making your opponents fold their cards. The skill involved in assessing your opponent’s situation, the pressure you apply and the bets you make is what separates beginners from pro players.

Once all players have been dealt two cards they can either call the bet or raise it. A player must always raise if they have the best possible poker hand and they think it will beat their opponent’s. It is important to remember that the best poker hands don’t always consist of pairs or high cards. In fact the majority of winning hands are made up of a combination of different poker hands such as three of a kind which consists of 3 matching cards of one rank, a straight which has 5 consecutive cards of the same suit and a flush which contains 5 cards of the same rank but from more than one suit.

A good poker player isn’t afraid to take a chance, raise and risk losing all their chips to try and win a big pot. It is also a very important skill to be able to read your opponents. By watching their betting patterns, eye movements, idiosyncrasies and hand gestures you can get a feel for the type of poker they play.