A Beginner’s Guide to Poker

Poker is a card game in which players must form the highest-value hand using their own cards and the community cards. It is a game of skill, psychology and attrition, but also one that relies heavily on chance.

The game begins with two mandatory bets (called blinds) placed into the pot by the players to the left of the dealer. Each player then receives 2 hole cards and then a round of betting takes place. Each player has the option to call (match the last person’s bet and put chips into the pot), raise (bet more than the previous player) or fold their hand.

When starting out in poker, it is best to play conservatively and at low stakes, as this will allow you to observe more and develop quick instincts without risking too much money. However, as you gain experience you should start to open up your ranges and become more aggressive to maximize your winning potential.

To make a winning hand, you must have at least a pair of distinct cards (Kings, Queens, Aces etc) or three distinct cards in total. If there is a tie, the highest card breaks it. If you have a high pair, it is even better. This type of hand usually wins the pot. However, you can win the pot with a straight, flush or full house as well. If you have a very strong opening hand, like a pair of kings or queens, bet heavily from the start and force other players out.