In poker, players place an ante (the amount varies by game) and then each player is dealt two cards face down. Once the betting begins, the highest hand wins the pot. Players may bet or raise based on their own hand strength and what they think the other players are holding.
There is a lot of skill at play in poker and you can win some pretty large pots with just a pair of jacks, but the majority of money that is won or lost is tied to how players make decisions. To make the most money, you want to play hands that are strong enough to be called and then get as many chips into the pot as possible.
A strong hand consists of a pair of matching cards, three of a kind, four of a kind, or a straight or flush. If your hand contains two pairs, one of which is a higher rank than the other, you have a full house. If your pair is a higher rank than the other, it is a straight or a flush.
Don’t be afraid to be aggressive with your strong hands and to make the pot as big as possible. This will force weaker hands out and increase the value of your winnings. However, you must also be careful not to be too aggressive and lose a significant amount of your own chips. As a rule of thumb, beginners should only bet or raise by the minimum bet, and should only play the top 20% of hands in a six-player game or 15% of hands in a ten-player game.