The Basics of Poker

The game of poker consists of five basic hands, each of which is ranked by its odds. The winnings of a pair of two-card pairs are equal, and a straight flush is always a better hand than a straight. The hand ranking of all the standard poker hands is outlined below. While suits have no relative position in poker, wild cards are used to improve the probability of winning. Having five of a kind beats having a straight flush, so a wild card can be very useful. The high-ranking unmatched cards, such as a Jack-Ten, are also used to break ties in hands.


Each player has five cards in front of him. The dealer reveals the first five cards, giving each player seven total. A player’s personal card is one of the seven cards in his hand. The other five are community cards. The flop is the first phase of the game. After the dealer shows the “flop”, players can analyze their hands to determine their chances of winning. However, replacements are not common in professional games. In this case, players must analyze their cards and decide on the best strategy.

Each player is entitled to contribute money to the pot before the game begins. This is called the ante. When a player places a bet, they are known as the “first bettor”. Any player who bets more than the previous bettor is said to “raise.” The last player to check out is a “check” – a player who hasn’t made a bet in the hand.