The Basics of Poker

The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game of chance that has become a major spectator sport and is played by millions worldwide. It has numerous variants, but a common core of rules.

In the most basic form, players each make a forced bet (an ante or blind bet) before being dealt cards by the dealer. They then place bets into the pot in the center, called the “pot”. At the end of the betting phase the highest hand wins the pot.

A standard 52-card pack is used, with the optional addition of a few jokers or wild cards (though the game may specify what sort of cards are wild). The suits are spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs; each suit is ranked high to low. The rank of the cards in a hand is based on their number; for example, a pair of sixes is considered a low pair.

During each betting interval, or “round”, the player to their left must either call the bet by putting chips into the pot equal to the amount raised, raise more than the previous player, or drop out of the hand, removing their cards and leaving the pot empty. Each time a round ends, the cards are collected and reshuffled.

The most popular game variations involve a number of betting rounds with bets placed at various stages in the process. These rounds are referred to as “bet phases”. A winning hand must consist of five cards. There are a variety of combinations that can be made, with the most valuable hands being the Royal Flush and Straight Flush.