The Basics of Poker
Poker is a card game played between two or more players. There are many different variants of poker, but all involve betting and revealing one’s cards in some way. The aim of the game is to win the “pot,” which is the sum total of all bets made during a hand. This pot is won by the player with the highest-ranking poker hand at the end of a betting round.
The game begins with each player putting in forced bets, either an ante or a blind bet. The dealer shuffles the pack, and then deals each player two cards face up (or face down depending on the variant being played). Once the cards are dealt, the first of several betting rounds begins.
As the rounds progress, the cards are revealed and bets are placed in a central “pot.” Players may also place bets on their own hands as well as on other player’s hands. These bets can be called or raised depending on the strategy at the table and on the strength of each player’s hand.
The most common hands are a pair, a straight, and three of a kind. The best poker hand is a Royal flush, which is five consecutive cards of the same suit—for example, ten, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of clubs, diamonds, hearts, or spades. If more than one player has a Royal flush, the higher-ranking hand wins. Three of a kind is when a player has three cards of the same rank, and two pairs are formed when more than one pair is created.