The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players place bets before the cards are dealt. These bets are called antes, blinds or bring-ins and come in several forms. The goal is to win the pot – all the money that has been placed in the betting round. You can achieve this by having the highest ranked hand of cards or by continuing to bet that your hand is the best until all other players have dropped out of the hand.

To start the hand the dealer deals each player two cards. Then everyone has a chance to say hit, stay or double up. If you want another card in your hand of the same rank, for example, two 3s, you can say hit and the dealer will give you an additional card.

Once the first betting round is over the dealer puts a third card face up on the table that anyone can use. This is called the flop. Once again everyone gets a chance to check, raise or fold.

In Texas Hold’em, the highest ranked poker hand is a Royal Flush (five cards of the same suit, ranked ace through ten). Other popular hands include Straight Flush, Three of a Kind and Two Pair. If a hand does not fit into any of these categories, the highest matching cards are valued, for example, two 3s would be worth more than two 2s. It is also possible for a hand to tie, in which case the highest card wins.