Poker comes in many forms, but in general, the idea is to make the best 5-card hand. The hand values are as follows:
Royal Flush: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten all of the same suit:
Straight Flush: 5 cards in a row, all the same suit:
Four of a Kind: 4 Matching ranks:
Full house: 3 matching ranks and a pair:
Flush: 5 cards of the same suit:
Straight: 5 cards in a row:
Three of a kind:
High Card: (Doesn't meet any of the above requirements)
The lowest possible hand is:
Texas Hold 'em is currently the most popular form of poker, and it involves using two "hole cards" and a "board" to make the best possible 5 card poker hand. The game is based primarily on the strength of your hole cards:
A♦A♣ is the most powerful starting hand, while 7♣2♠ is the weakest (as it cannot use both cards to make a straight or a flush.)
If you have never played, a decent strategy would be to just go all in with any pair higher than 10, AQ or AK. It is certainly not the best strategy, but as a beginner it should give you some chance to have the best hand against the other players, if they decide to call your bet.
In general, poker is a game that favors agression, and patience. The key thing to remember is that if you make all of your opponents fold, the value of the hands are irrelevant, so if you don't really know what you're doing, just take solid starting hands and bet like a wild man, and you might get lucky!