How to Play Poker

Poker is a card game of chance in which players wager against each other and the dealer. The aim is to make a winning hand by using your two personal cards and the five community cards on the table. There are many different ways to play the game and each has its own strategy. However, most successful poker players share certain characteristics. These include patience, reading other players and adaptability.

Each player places an ante wager and then receives three cards face down. He or she then decides whether to place a bet and pit his hand against the dealer’s hand or fold his hand. The optimum strategy is to “play” all hands greater than Queen, Six and Four and to fold hands worse than this.

The first round of betting is known as the flop. This is when the community cards are revealed. The flop usually has at least one high card and often contains more than this. If you have pocket kings for example and an ace appears on the flop this could spell disaster.

After the flop, the second betting round is when the players reveal their own cards in order to create their best poker hand. The highest hand wins the pot. There are also side pots that can be won depending on the strength of the opponent’s hand. If a player cannot call the amount of money being wagered by another player, he or she can check to stay in the hand and then fold if no action is taken.