The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players wager chips (representing money) that they have or will earn by making a superior hand. The game can be played by two to 14 players, and the object is to win a pot, which may consist of the total of all bets made during one deal. Players make bets by raising, calling, or folding. A player may also bluff by betting that he or she has the best hand; if the other players call, the bluffer wins the pot without showing his hand.

Some poker variants require one or more players to make forced bets, usually an ante and a blind bet, in addition to any voluntary bets made by the players. A player who does not wish to call the ante or blind bet can check. The dealer shuffles the cards and deals them to the players in turn, beginning with the player to their left. The players may check their cards at any time before the flop.

A poker hand consists of five cards. A high-card hand is a single card of any rank, a pair is two cards of the same rank, and three of a kind are three cards of the same rank plus two cards of another rank. A straight is five cards in sequence, and a flush is five cards of the same suit. A full house is a combination of three cards of one rank and two of another, for example, three jacks and two fours.