Poker Goals

The obvious object of poker is to win the pot. That is easier said than done, but there are two ways to accomplish that goal. The first is to have the best hand at the table, and the second is to convince the other players that you have the best hand so they’ll drop out and leave you the pot. This is called bluffing, and is not nearly as successful as many of the experts would have you believe.

Before you begin to play, the most important thing to understand is the ranking of hands in poker. Many a game has been lost when a player – usually a beginner, but sometimes an experienced player – forgets which hand beats which. The most frequently confused hands are the full house, flush and straight. Commit to memory the chart in this chapter before even considering venturing out into the cruel world of casino poker.

Most poker games, including seven-card stud and Texas hold’em, use the rankings shown overleaf, which are the best hands, using five cards.