How to Play Poker

Poker is a card game where the twin elements of chance and skill are both required to win. Over time the application of skill will eliminate the variance caused by chance.

To play poker, each player must first ante some amount (our games are typically a nickel) and be dealt two cards face down. Then players place bets into a central pot, and the player with the best 5 card hand wins the entire pot including all the previous bets made by all other players during that round.

When betting comes around to you, you can either “call” the current bet (put in the same number of chips into the pot as the previous player) or raise it. If you raise, the other players can choose to match your bet or fold their hand.

You can also say, “drop” when you have a weak hand that won’t win. This means that you don’t put any money into the pot and you discard your hand.

After each round of betting, the dealer will deal one more card to each player. This card is called the river. The highest card in this hand wins the pot, but you can also have a high pair, straight or flush to win ties. One of the most common errors is to start too low and move up in stakes too quickly. This is the easiest way to lose your poker bankroll. You should always start at the lowest limits so that you can practice your skills versus weak players and learn the game without giving money to better players.