The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players compete to make the best five-card hand with their own cards and the community cards. In poker, there is a lot of skill and psychology involved as well as chance. Poker is a game of strategy and the more you play, the better you will become. You can read books on the subject and study game theory, but the best way to get better is to practice and play with a group of friends who already know how to play. Watch how they play and think about how you would react in their position to develop quick instincts.

The game is played from a standard pack of 52 cards, sometimes with one or two jokers added. The cards are ranked (high to low) as Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 6, 5, 4, and 3 with the highest hand winning. Some poker games also have wild cards which can take on whatever suit and rank their possessor chooses.

Each player antes an amount of money into the pot before the cards are dealt, and then places them in front of him for betting. The person to his left posts the small blind, and the next player to his left posts the big blind. These forced bets are called blinds, and they help keep the pot large enough to attract bettors.

Some groups of players may agree to use a special fund for chips, known as the kitty. This is used to pay for new decks of cards and other game supplies. Generally, all players contribute to the kitty equally, and when the game ends, any remaining funds are split among the players who are still in the game.