The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players try to make the best five-card hand possible. Unlike other casino games, Poker requires players to act on the basis of a combination of probability, psychology and game theory.

The rules of most variants of poker are similar, but each game has its own set of specific rules. The basic elements of each variant include a forced bet (an ante), cards that are hidden from the other players, and a series of betting rounds between the deal and showdown.

An ante is a small bet that all players must contribute before a hand begins. This gives the pot a value right from the start, but it does not guarantee that all the money will go to the player who has the best hand.

A flop is the first 3 cards dealt face-up to all players at the center of the table. These are community cards, and each player uses them to build his or her 5-card hand.

The flop is followed by the turn and river, during which players take turns showing their hands. The player who shows the best hand wins.

In most versions of poker, the highest-ranking hand is a full house (five cards of the same rank). Two or more identical hands tie and divide any winning equally.

A flush is a four-card hand made up of any two cards of the same rank and one of another rank, including an ace.