How to Play Poker

Poker is a card game that requires a lot of mental activity. It also teaches you how to evaluate risk, which is an important skill in all types of financial decisions. It also helps you improve your working memory, which is useful for multitasking. In addition, playing poker improves your social skills by teaching you how to read other players and understand their motivations.

To play poker you must make a bet of one or more chips each time it is your turn to act. Each player then either calls (puts the same amount of money into the pot as you) or raises their bet. If no player calls or raises the bet then the cards are revealed and the player with the best hand wins the pot.

A full house is a three matching cards of the same rank and two matching cards of another rank. A flush is five consecutive cards from the same suit. A straight is five cards in sequence but not from the same suit. A pair is two matching cards of one rank and three unmatched cards. The highest card breaks ties.

Reading other players is a vital part of poker and you can do it by paying attention to their betting patterns. A player who constantly calls with weak pairs is likely to be a bad player and you should avoid calling their bets unless you have a strong hand. Similarly, players who bet all in frequently are usually playing very weak hands and should be avoided.