The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game that involves betting between players, and the object of the game is to have the highest-ranking hand at the end of each round. The game has many variants, but most involve the same basic elements. The basic rule is that each player must put in some amount of money, called a blind or an ante, before being dealt cards. Then each player can choose to check (not call a bet), raise, or fold. The highest-ranking hand wins the pot at the end of each betting interval.

A standard 53-card pack, including the joker, is used, but the joker only counts as a fifth ace or to fill a flush (a series of five cards of the same suit), a straight, or certain special hands. In addition, all four deuces (2s) are wild.

Most poker games take place around a table with seven or more players. Each player must buy in for a fixed amount of chips, usually worth ten white or other light-colored chips, and there is often an ante.

During each betting interval, a player may bet any number of chips in turn. The player to their left must either call the bet or raise it, and if they raise it, the player to their right must match that amount in order to stay in the game. Players may also “drop” by putting no chips in the pot at all, and their hands are then revealed to all remaining players.