The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players place bets against each other based on the value of their hand. Players may use real money or chips (normally made of plastic or ceramic) to bet, with the highest hand winning the pot. The game has become a major pastime and casino industry around the world. There are many forms of the game, but most involve a minimum number of players and a dealer. The game is often fast-paced, and players can bet continually as the cards are dealt.

Each player starts with two personal cards. The first round of betting is placed into a ‘pot’, which may be raised or called as the hand is revealed. Players can then discard cards and draw new ones if they wish. This process is known as ‘the flop’, and it is usually at this point that stronger hands will be bet on to force weaker hands out of the pot.

The second round of betting is again held until someone calls the bet or folds. When the third round comes around (the ‘turn’) another card is added to the table and another chance to bet is given. Players can also check (pass on their turn to bet) if they do not want to call the bet.

The best hand is a Royal Flush which is five consecutive cards of the same suit (all clubs, hearts, diamonds and spades). A straight flush is a 5 card sequence that skips around in rank but doesn’t have to be in order (A-K-Q-J-T). Three of a kind is 3 matching cards of one rank, two pair is 2 matching cards of different ranks and a single unmatched card.