The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game of chance and skill played by groups of players. The objective is to make the best hand possible out of a combination of two cards in your own hand and five cards on the table, or “community cards.”

A standard pack of 52 cards (some variant games use multiple packs or add jokers) is used. The cards are ranked from highest to lowest: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1.

Each player is dealt a set of two cards facedown. They must then decide whether to call the bet, raise the bet, or fold. If a player folds, they do not put any chips into the pot and are out of the betting until the next deal.

The cards are then dealt again, each time in a different order. The player to the left of the small blind, or the player who is still in the hand, acts first, and then each other player, in turn, may call the bet, raise it, or fold.

Once all but one player has folded, the hand is over and the pot goes to the winner. In some variants, if more than one player remains in contention after the final betting round, a showdown takes place where everyone is required to reveal their hands and the winner collects the pot.

There are a number of poker variants, but the rules for all of them are basically the same. During each betting interval, the player to the left of the dealer makes a bet, and each player in turn must either “call” that bet by putting into the pot as many chips as the player before them; or “raise” the bet, by putting in more than the previous player called; or “fold” (or “check”), by putting no chips into the pot and dropping out of the betting.