The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game played in a circle of people. It can be a competitive and rewarding social activity. It is a card game that involves betting, raising and lowering chips to determine which player has the best hand of five cards. It is most often played for money but can be for fun or as a form of recreation among friends.

At the start of a game each player “buys in” for a certain amount of chips. Usually one white chip is worth the minimum ante or bet; red chips are worth five whites; and blue chips are worth ten whites. The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals four hands of hole cards to everyone still in the game. During the first betting round each player can call, raise or fold their hand.

After the first betting round is complete the dealer puts three cards face up on the table that are community cards and anyone can use to make a hand of five. This is called the flop. At this point everyone should take a good look at their cards and decide whether to keep playing or fold.

It is important to pay attention to the other players in the game and try to guess what kind of hands they have. This is known as reading the players and it is an essential skill to develop quickly. For example if a player raises with pocket kings on the flop it is likely they have a strong hand.