The Basics of Poker

The game of poker involves a card-hand, a betting circle, and a pot. The player with the highest ranked poker hand wins the pot, which is all of the money that has been bet during that hand. The first round of betting begins with the player to the left of the dealer posting two mandatory bets called blinds. These bets ensure that there is a pot to win and provide players with the incentive to play.

Once the pre-flop betting is complete the dealer deals 3 cards face up on the table, known as the flop. A second round of betting takes place and after this a 4th community card is dealt, known as the turn. There is another betting round and once this is done the last community card is revealed, which makes up the river. A poker hand can only contain 5 cards. The highest ranked poker hand is the straight, followed by the flush, then the full house and finally the three of a kind.

Top poker players often fast-play strong hands, which means they raise before folding. This builds the pot and helps them to chase off any other players who might be waiting for a better hand to form. This is a much better strategy than the middle option of limping, which tends to get weaker hands into the pot for a bad beat.