Poker is a game that requires observation, concentration and accurate application of theory. It also requires the ability to stay focused, even when the cards are not going your way. Human nature will always try to derail your plan, whether it is being overly cautious or attempting an ill-advised bluff. Those temptations can be hard to overcome.
Top players often fast-play strong hands, as they want to build the pot and chase off others holding a hand that could beat theirs. It is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of different types of hands in order to play them well.
The basic poker hands are pairs, three of a kind, four of a kind, straight, flush and full house. Pairs contain two matching cards of one rank, three of a kind contains three matching cards of one rank and two unmatched cards and a straight contains five consecutive cards of the same suit in sequence.
After the first betting round is complete, the dealer puts a third card on the table that anyone can use. This is called the flop. After the second betting round is completed the dealer puts a fourth card on the board that anyone can use, this is called the turn. The final betting round is when he deals a fifth card that everyone can use, this is known as the river. Once the last betting round is complete and everyone has exposed their hands the player with the highest ranked poker hand wins the pot.