How to Play Poker

Poker is a game of cards and betting over a series of rounds until one player has the best hand. It may be played with two or more people, and is typically for money – chips or cash. The game is a great way to pass time, but it can also be an excellent social and bonding activity for friends or family members.

Learn the Rules

To start playing, shuffle and deal four hands of hole cards face down to each person. Determine which hand is the strongest, and then deal the flop (sometimes called “third street”). Assess your position again, and see how your advantage has changed. Repeat this process for the turn (or fourth street) and river (or fifth street). Eventually, you should be able to assess your best hand in just several seconds, even under pressure!

Once the shuffling and betting is complete, say “call” if you want to raise your bet. You are indicating that you want to place chips in the pot equal to the last bet, for example, $10. If you don’t have the amount to raise, simply say “stay,” and the dealer will give you another card.

When you’re holding a strong hand, bet aggressively. This will force weaker hands to fold, and make your stronger ones win more often. Look beyond your own cards to consider what other players might have, and bet accordingly. With practice, you’ll be able to read tells and figure out what other players are likely to do when you bet.