There are really two different things you must learn when you want to learn how to play poker. The first is the basics of the game and the second how to bet in poker.
To begin with, poker is a classic gambling game played with a standard deck of playing cards. The object of poker is to arrange groups of cards together into sets commonly known as hands. There are so many different variations of poker that it is difficult to go into to much detail when discussing poker in general. If your looking to learn how to play a particular poker variation check the other poker courses offered.
A hand of poker is won by the player with the highest-ranking hand among the players who are still in the game at the end of the betting. The goal of playing poker isn't simply to win a lot of hands. The goal it's to win as much money as possible! Over a series of many deals, successful players will be ones who maximize their winnings on the deals they win while minimizing their losses on the deals they lose.
The highest-ranking hand in poker is five cards of the same value or five of a kind. However, a five of a kind is only possible in a game with wild cards. The highest-ranking hand in a poker game without wild cards is the straight flush. The hand rankings from highest to lowest are as follows; five of a kind, straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, three of a kind, two pair, one pair, high card. When two hands are of the same rank, the tiebreak depends on the type of hand. For a detailed description of each hand see Poker 112: Poker Hands.
For straight flushes, flushes, straights, and nothing, the hand containing the highest card wins. Thus, the straight Q-J-10-9-8 beats the straight J-10-9-8-7. It would also beat 5-4-3-2-A, because the ace is being used as a low card in this case. If there is a tie between high cards, the second-highest cards are compared, and so on downward, until one card is higher than another. For example, the flush A-10-4-3-2 beats the flush A-9-8-7-6 because the 10 is higher than the 9. If all five cards are identical except for suit, the hands are equal and the pot is shared equally between the winning players. For example, a royal flush in spades would tie with a royal flush in diamonds.
For four of a kind and three of a kind, the hand with the higher ranking matched set wins; 7-7-7-3-2 beats 6-6-6-A-K because sevens are higher than sixes. Unmatched cards matter only if the sets are equal; K-K-J-3-2 beats K-K-9-8-7 because the jack beats the 9.
For full houses, the highest three of a kind determines the winner. If the three of a kinds have the same rank then the higher pair wins, otherwise the ranks of the pairs are ignored. For two pair and pair, the hand with the highest pair wins.