The Basics of Poker

Poker is a family of card games in which players wager over the cards they hold. They are played in private homes, in casinos, and over the Internet.

Rules vary widely from game to game, but a common set of rules governs most games. The basic rules for each game involve dealing the cards to all players, betting, and then a showdown of the hands.

Deal: The dealer, who is also called the “dealer,” deals each player a hand of five cards face down. The player can then fold, call, or raise, each of which involves placing a bet into the pot.

Betting: In each round of betting, a player can choose to ante (a small bet), check (a match of the ante), or raise (an increase in the amount of money placed into the pot). When raising, a player first places the amount of chips required to call the previous bet and then adds the number of additional chips.

When a player raises, the other players in the pot must raise as well. In addition, a player may place one or more side pots into the main pot.

The player with the highest hand wins. A hand can consist of any combination of cards from a standard 52-card deck, although some variants have wild cards. These can take on any suit and rank as they wish, although the ace is usually high. A straight is five cards in a row of any suit, excluding wraparounds.