The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game that can be played by two or more players and involves betting between rounds. The goal is to win the pot by making the best hand. Each player starts with a fixed number of chips, or “buys in” for the game. Then they can either call or raise the bet placed by the player to their left. In the case of a raise, the player must match or exceed the previous player’s bet to remain in the pot.

Each player is dealt a set of cards, either face up or face down, depending on the variant of the game being played. Usually one player is required to make forced bets, known as an ante or blind bet. After the forced bets have been made, the dealer shuffles the cards, and then deals them to the players one at a time, beginning with the player on his or her left.

A standard pack of 52 cards, plus a few jokers (or wild cards) is used. The cards are ranked in order from high to low: Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10. There are four suits, but no suit is considered higher than another.

In the game of poker, a hand must consist of five cards in order to win the pot. If a player has less than five cards, their hand is dead and the best remaining hand wins the pot. In addition to the main pot, there may also be side pots for different categories of hands.