The Basics of Poker


In the game of poker, the highest possible hand is a full house. A full house contains three of a kind plus two of another rank. In addition, the flush card consists of five cards of the same rank or sequence. Straight cards consist of 5 cards of the same rank, one of each of which is higher than the next. The high card is also considered the highest possible hand. Two of a kind means two cards of the same rank plus three unmatched cards.

Different variations of poker are played by players with various stakes. Some games use fewer than five cards, like Three-Card Monte and Spit-in-the-Ocean. All poker variants are described later in this chapter. For more than ten players, two separate games may be organized. The rules of each variant differ, but essentially, the game involves betting and reading your opponents. You will want to use your cool demeanor and predict your opponents’ odds to be successful.

The game of poker has an apocryphal history. Most publications about poker point to the Mississippi River and New Orleans. The game of poque emerged first in Europe in the seventeenth century, and eventually evolved into a German version, pochen. Later, the game was brought to North America by French settlers. Today, more than 100 million people worldwide play poker. The game has a long history, and it continues to grow in popularity.