Whether you’re new to poker or have been playing for years, it can be helpful to know the basics. Although there are many different variations of the game, Hold’em is the most popular. And it’s the one that you’ll likely encounter in most casinos.

Poker is played with a standard pack of cards. The cards are ranked from Ace to King and are grouped into four suits. Some games use jokers, and others divide the pot between the highest and lowest hands.

Typically, a player’s first two actions are to check and bet. This gives the other players time to consider their hands, and helps to keep the action moving in a more even manner.

Once the dealer cuts the cards, the action moves to the next player in the hand. The player who’s in the lead gets the pot. If no one folds, the action moves to the showdown.

In a showdown, the winner is the player with the best hand. Sometimes, the winner is a straight. The winner breaks ties if there’s more than one person with a pair of the same kind. When there are more than one pair, the highest card wins.

Players often talk while they’re not in a hand, which can add to the decision-making process. When you do, keep in mind that you don’t want to give away information. That’s why it’s important to only answer questions when it’s your turn.

If you do notice mistakes, it’s important to politely explain them. You don’t want to get into an argument with the dealer or your fellow players. That might make everyone uncomfortable.