Poker is a game that requires both luck and the ability to read your opponents. It is also a game that involves bluffing, which can often be very successful. However, the most important skill is the ability to make the right decision at the right time.

Poker has many different rules and strategies. A good starting point is to understand the basic rules of the game. Once you have mastered these basics, you can start to refine your strategy and improve your chances of winning.

Before a hand starts, the players must put in an ante or blind bet. This is to ensure that every player has a fair chance of winning. It is also a way to keep the game fun and exciting by making it a competitive event.

When it’s your turn to act, you can raise the amount that the person before you bet by saying “raise.” You may also choose to call (match) the previous bet and then fold your cards. You can also choose to discard your cards and draw replacements from the top of the deck by saying “call.”

A poker hand consists of five cards. A full house has three matching cards of the same rank. A straight contains 5 cards in consecutive rank, but they can be of different suits. A pair is two matching cards of one rank and three other unmatched cards. A flush is 5 cards of the same suit.