Poker is a popular game for many reasons: it’s social; you can play it for money or for free; and there’s a deep element of strategy to keep people interested in the game as they grow more experienced.

To start with, the most important thing to understand about poker is how it works. In a typical game, you put up ante money (often just one white chip) to get dealt in, then bet on each hand until the player with the best five-card poker hand wins the pot. Each bet can be raised or lowered depending on the situation.

During the first betting round, known as the Flop, three community cards are revealed. Then each player makes a poker hand by using two of their own cards and three of the community cards. The best poker hands are:

To make a poker hand, you must have at least two matching cards of the same rank. Aces are the highest ranked cards and can beat any other hand. A flush contains 5 consecutive cards of the same suit; a straight is five cards that skip around in rank but are all from the same suits; and a three of a kind is three matching cards of the same rank. In addition to knowing how poker hands are formed, it’s helpful to learn about the different poker variants and their limits. The most popular poker games are No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha.