Poker is a game of cards where the highest ranking hand wins. The hands are formed from a combination of the player’s hole cards and community cards. Some of the most common poker hands include a Royal Flush (Jack-Queen-King-Ace of the same suit), Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Two Pair and One Pair.
In some games players are forced to put in an initial amount of money before they see their cards, known as the ante or blinds. This helps create a pot and encourages competition. However, in the long run all bets placed at a poker table are made voluntarily and based on expected value calculations.
While the rules of poker are relatively simple, there are a number of things that all players should keep in mind when playing the game. A good start is to understand the meaning of the catchy phrase “Play the Player, Not the Cards”. This simply means that even if you have a great starting hand like pocket kings, you should be wary of putting your chips in against better opponents if the flop is dominated by high cards such as Js or Ks.
Another important concept to grasp is the basic strategy of position. Players in EP – the first position at the table – should play very tight and only open with strong hands. This will ensure that they are winning against the opponent’s range of pre-flop hands in the long run. Players in MP – the second position – should be more open but still only open with solid hands. This way they can take advantage of their position and put pressure on the opponent.