The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players wager money on the outcome of their hands. The highest hand wins, and the lowest hand loses.

The ranking of hands is determined by their odds (probability), which can be complicated by whether or not ties are broken by secondary pairs or wild cards. Some variations also award the pot to the best low hand rather than the highest high.

Betting intervals

In poker, each betting interval begins with the first player to bet and ends when that bettor folds or when all the other players have checked. In some variants, a player may also check when no other player has made a bet.


In some games, a player can bluff by making a bet and then revealing no cards at the showdown. This technique is called “bluffing” and is a major part of poker.


A poker hand is a group of five cards. These can be the five cards dealt to a player or a combination of the player’s cards with other cards from the community.


The highest-ranking card in a hand is the kicker, usually the fifth card. The kicker can be any card from the player’s deck.

Deuces wild

All four deuces in a standard deck are designated as “wild” cards.

Dealer – The person who deals the cards and shuffles them after each hand.

Blind – In some games, one or more players must place a forced bet before the cards are dealt, called a blind.