The Basics of Poker


Poker is a family of card games where players compete to have the highest-ranking hand. Each game has its own rules, but they all involve betting in some way and require one or more rounds of play.

Cards: The standard 52-card pack, sometimes with the addition of one or two jokers (a wild card), is used in most forms of poker. Most games, particularly in clubs and among the best players, use two packs of contrasting colors to speed up the game.

Dealing: After each player has been dealt a number of cards, the first of what may be several betting rounds begins. The cards are dealt face up or face down depending on the variant of the game being played.

Betting: The first betting interval starts when a player to the left of the dealer makes a bet, called “calling,” by putting into the pot a predetermined amount of chips. Each player to the left of the dealer in turn must either call that bet by putting into the pot the same number of chips; raise, which means that the player puts into the pot more than enough chips to call; or fold, which means that the player places no chips into the pot and discards their hand.

When a player folds, they lose any chips that put into the pot and are out of the betting until the next round. A player can also check, which means that they do not make any further bets and do not have to reveal their hand.