The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game for two or more players, in which each player places chips (representing money) into the pot when it is his turn. The highest hand wins the pot. The rules of poker vary somewhat among games, but the basic idea is that each player makes a bet on each deal and, depending on how strong his hand is, raises or folds. The game became popular with the introduction of a 52-card deck.

In most games, the player to the left of the dealer opens betting by placing a number of chips into the pot. Each player may choose to “call” that amount, meaning they will put in enough chips to call the bet; raise it by adding more than that; or drop out of the betting interval entirely by not placing any chips into the pot.

Once the betting interval is over, each player who remains will reveal their cards. The best poker hand wins the pot.

High-card hands win more often than low-card ones, and pairs of aces beat three of a kind but not straights or flushes. A royal flush is the most prestigious of all hands, consisting of an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten of the same suit.