The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players place bets (representing money) into a central pot. Each player receives a complete hand of cards after a series of betting intervals, and the player with the highest-ranking poker combination in his faceup cards wins the pot. There are a variety of different poker games, with some variants using more than five cards.

Before the deal, one or more players must make a forced bet, known as an ante or blind bet. The dealer then shuffles the cards, cuts off the player on his right, and deals each active player a number of cards, with the first betting interval beginning.

During each betting interval, the player to the left of the player who made the previous bet can either “call” that bet by placing chips into the pot equal to or greater than the amount of the initial forced bet; raise his own bet by increasing the number of chips he places into the pot; or drop (“fold”) and forfeit any chips he has placed in the pot.

A poker game is played with a standard 52-card pack, often supplemented by two jokers. The jack of diamonds, jack of spades, and king of hearts are each considered wild, meaning they can be used in any suit to form a winning poker hand. A full house is comprised of three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another rank; a flush is a sequence of five consecutive cards of the same suit; and a pair is any two cards of the same rank.