The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players place bets by putting chips into a pot. The player with the best hand wins the pot. Players can raise and re-raise their bets. The rules of the game differ from variant to variant, but most involve betting intervals and a showdown where the players who remain reveal their cards and the player with the best hand wins the pot.

Before the cards are dealt each player puts an initial contribution, called an ante, into the pot. This money is used to cover the cost of the deal and start the betting. Then each player receives five cards. Each poker hand must consist of at least three cards. Those cards may be in a sequence or rank, but not necessarily in a suit. Two of the same rank is a pair. Three of the same rank is a full house. Four of a kind is a straight. Five consecutive cards in a suit is a flush.

Each betting interval (or round) begins when a player, as designated by the rules of the particular poker game being played, makes a bet. Then each player in turn must either call that bet by putting the same number of chips into the pot as their predecessors, or raise it. If they choose to raise it must be equal to or higher than the previous player’s raised bet or they must drop out of the poker game.