The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players wager chips (representing money) on the outcome of a hand. There are many different poker games, but all share certain characteristics. For example, all poker games involve betting rounds, and the object is to win the pot (the aggregate amount of bets placed during a deal) by having the highest-ranking poker hand or by making a bet that no other player calls.

At the start of a hand, one or more players are required to make forced bets, usually an ante and a blind bet. The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals them to each player, beginning with the player to his or her left. Depending on the variant of poker being played, some cards may be dealt face up and some face down.

Players then have the option to check, call, raise, or fold their hands. When a player raises, they must raise by at least the amount of the previous bet and any additional chips that were added to the pot as a result of the raising.

A poker hand consists of two personal cards in your hand, plus the five community cards on the table. The best possible poker hand is a straight of five consecutive cards of the same suit, but it can be made with any five cards. You can also form a flush with three matching cards of the same rank and two unmatched cards.