The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game that is played by a group of people around a circular or oval-shaped table. Before the game starts, an initial dealer is chosen; this person shuffles the deck and cuts it in clockwise directions, a process called a “deal”.

Players are dealt two cards face down (the “hole cards”), then they may bet, fold, or check. After the first betting round, players’ hands are developed by being dealt additional cards or replacing cards previously dealt.

Each player’s hand is then ranked by its odds, with the highest hands determining the winner. For example, the highest possible hand in standard poker is a royal flush, which is made up of 10 through Ace of the same suit.

Ranks of standard poker hands vary among different variants, and are determined by the number of unmatched cards in a hand, which is based on the probability of having the same set of cards. The higher the unmatched cards, the higher the rank.

The highest ranking standard poker hand is a royal flush, which includes a 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of the same suit. It can be beaten only by a straight flush of another suit, which is a five-card hand of consecutive suits.


A common feature of poker is bluffing, which occurs when a player bets that he has a superior hand to the other players’ hands but does not actually have it. If other players call this bet, they must reveal their hands; if they fold, they do not compete for the pot.