Learn the Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game played by two or more players. Each player places an ante or pair plus wager before being dealt cards. In some variations, players may also be required to place forced bets before receiving their cards. These are called blinds and they can come in the form of a bring-in, a raise or a call.

After the antes and blinds have been placed, each player is dealt 2 cards face down (hidden from other players). These are known as your hole or pocket cards. There is then a betting phase in which players take turns clockwise revealing their hand. Whichever player has the best 5-card hand wins the pot.

A full house contains 3 matching cards of one rank and 2 matching cards of another rank. A flush contains 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. A straight contains 5 cards of different ranks but from the same suit. A pair contains 2 cards of the same rank and 2 unmatched cards.

In addition to learning the rules of basic poker, it is a good idea to study some of the more obscure variations. This will help you to understand how the game plays and how it relates to the mathematical frequencies of different hands. You should also familiarize yourself with the different betting strategies, such as when to fold a weak hand and when to raise a strong one. You should also learn how to read other players and detect tells, which can be very useful in a game of poker.