Poker is a card game in which players place bets into a central pot. The highest hand wins the pot. A player must ante something (amount varies by game) to be dealt cards, and betting is then done in clockwise order. When it’s your turn, you say “call” or “I call” to bet the same amount as the last player, and place your chips or cash into the pot.

Each poker game uses a standard 52-card deck (some games add one or more jokers/wild cards). The rank of a card is high (Ace), low (two, three, four, five) and middle (six, seven, eight, nine). There are also four suits: spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs.

A pair is two matching cards of the same rank. A straight is 5 consecutive cards of the same suit, with no wild cards. A full house is 3 matching cards of one rank and 2 matching cards of another, and a flush is 5 consecutive cards of the same suit (switching between two or more suits).

The divide between break-even beginner players and big-time winners is often smaller than you think. Many times, it just comes down to changing your mindset, and learning to view the game in a more cold, detached, mathematical, and logical way than you do presently. Then you can make the small adjustments that will allow you to start winning at a much higher rate. And you can do it without spending a lot of money.