# Learn the Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game that involves betting and the raising and folding of hands. A player’s decisions during a hand are made on the basis of probability, psychology, and game theory. Players must also consider the cost of calling a bet as well as their expected return on the hand.

There are many forms of poker and the number of players varies. However, the ideal number of players for a game is six or seven. The object of the game is to win the pot, which is the total amount of bets placed during a hand. This can be accomplished by having the highest ranked poker hand or by making a bet that no one else calls.

A poker hand is composed of five cards. There are four suits (spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs) and an Ace. The cards are ranked in order from high to low: Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10. Each card has a different value. For example, a pair of 10s is higher than a single 10 or a single 5. There are many combinations of poker hands and the highest ranked hand wins the pot.

To play poker you must first ante up a certain amount of money, called the forced bet. Then the dealer shuffles the cards and deals them to the players one at a time. The player to their right must then either raise the ante or call it. During the course of a poker hand there may be multiple betting rounds. At the end of each round the dealer puts a fifth card on the table that anyone can use, called the river.

When it’s your turn to act you can say “call” or “I call” to make a bet equal to the last person’s bet or raise. You must then place the appropriate amount of chips or cash into the pot. You can also fold if you don’t have a good enough hand.

The best way to learn poker is to find a reputable teacher who can teach you the basics of the game and help you understand how the game works. A good teacher will also have an in-depth understanding of poker strategy and be able to explain it in an easy to understand way.

Another great resource for learning poker is to read books on the subject. There are many great books available that cover everything from how to play the game to the different strategies you can use to improve your winning streak. Reading these books will give you a solid foundation to build on as you continue to improve your skills. Another great way to learn is to watch other players and try to pick up on their tells. A tell is an unconscious habit a player makes that gives away information about their hand. These tells can be as simple as a change in posture or a facial expression. There are many different poker tells and they can be difficult to spot.