Poker is a card game in which players place bets (representing money) into the pot in order to compete for the highest hand. Each player is dealt five cards and must ante some amount (the actual amount varies by game) in order to bet. Then, players may discard their cards and draw new ones until they have a complete hand. The player with the highest hand wins the pot. Unlike many other casino games, the game of poker is mostly controlled by mathematically sound decisions made by players using knowledge of probability, psychology and game theory.
Rule of Thumb: Don’t Call Unless You Can Make the Flop
Most poker hands are made up of four cards, and the rank of the cards is determined by their odds of being in a winning hand (a straight beats a flush). There are usually four suits in standard poker, but in some cases jokers can be used as wild cards. Two or more identical cards make a tie, and any remaining unmatched cards form secondary pairs (e.g. a pair of sevens).
One common mistake that new players make is to call with trashy hands in an attempt to see the flop for cheap. This is almost always a bad idea. Even if you have pocket kings, the flop can spell doom if there are a lot of jacks in the board. It is almost always better to raise, either by the minimum bet or more than that, and price all of the weak hands out of the pot.