Poker is a card game played by two or more players. It is a fast-paced game and players bet often. The highest hand wins the pot. A full house is three cards of the same rank (as in jacks or queens) and two unmatched cards; a flush is five consecutive cards of the same suit (as in spades, hearts, diamonds or clubs); and a straight is five cards in a row of the same rank, but not in the same order (as in 7-2-2). Some games also have jokers as wild cards.
In the beginning of a hand, each player must make a forced bet or “ante”, which is usually an amount equal to the previous players’ bets in clockwise order. The dealer then shuffles the cards and offers them to the player on his right for a cut. If the player refuses, any other player may cut. After the shuffle and the first betting interval, each active player must either decide to discard one or more of his cards and draw replacements, or “hold pat” on his cards.
When betting comes to you, say “call” if you wish to match the bet of the person to your left. You can also say “call” if you want to raise the bet. If you do not call, you must fold your cards if you don’t have a good hand. Look for tells like shallow breathing, sighing, a nervous smile or flaring nostrils, a hand over the mouth, and a quick glance at your chips. Observe other experienced players and try to emulate their behavior to develop your own quick instincts.