# The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game where players bet against each other to win. The cards are dealt to each player face-down and they must place an ante into the pot before betting on their hand. Then they can discard up to three cards and draw new ones from the deck to form a final hand. The player with the best hand wins the pot.

There are many different types of poker hands. Some of the most common include a pair, a straight, and a full house. A pair consists of two cards of the same rank, while a straight consists of five consecutive cards in the same suit. A full house consists of 3 cards of one rank and 2 cards of another rank.

A poker hand has a value in inverse proportion to its mathematical frequency. The more unusual a poker hand is, the higher it ranks. This is why it is important to learn the math behind poker. This can help you understand frequencies, EV estimations, and combos in more detail and develop intuition around them.

Getting too attached to a good hand can be a mistake in poker. This is because a great hand can be lost if the board is full of flushes or straights. For example, if you hold pocket kings and the flop comes A-8-5 then you will probably lose the hand because of the other players’ ability to bluff at this point.

It is also important to pay attention to the other players at the table. This is known as reading your opponents and it’s a key aspect of poker. Most of the time this doesn’t come from subtle physical tells (like scratching your nose or playing nervously with your chips) but from patterns. For example, if a player constantly bets then you can assume that they are only playing strong hands.

When it’s your turn to act, you can say “call” if you want to match the previous player’s bet amount. You can also raise the bet by saying “raise.” However, if you don’t have enough chips to call or raise, then you must drop.