Poker is a game of cards played between two or more people. The object is to form a high-ranking hand, winning the pot at the end of each betting round. The pot is the sum of all bets made by all players during that hand. A player can win the pot by holding a high-ranking hand, or by making a bet that none of the other players call.
Each player must ante (the amount varies by game, but in our games it is a nickel) to get dealt cards. Once the bets come around to you, you can choose to check, call, or raise. If you raise, the other players must either call your bet or fold their hands. The person with the highest hand wins the pot.
A high-ranking hand is any combination of five consecutive cards of the same suit (straight, flush, or four of a kind). A full house is three of a kind and a pair. A straight flush is five consecutive cards of the same suit, and two pair is two sets of two matching cards.
Bluffing is a crucial part of any good poker strategy, but you must use it sparingly to keep your opponents guessing as to what you are holding. If they always know what you have, your bluffs will fail and they will be able to call every single one of your moves. To avoid giving your opponents this advantage, you should mix up your bets often and play a balanced style that doesn’t make it too obvious what you are holding.