The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game where players have two cards and five community cards to make a “hand.” There are many variations of this game. In most, each player must place an initial contribution to the pot (amount varies by game) in order to be dealt cards. Then a round of betting occurs, and each player may choose to discard one to three cards or “hold” them. The highest hand wins the pot.

A “hand” is a group of cards that can be grouped into one of the following five hands: Straight flush – 5 consecutive cards of the same rank in the same suit. Four of a kind – 3 matching cards of one rank plus 2 matching cards of another rank, plus a pair. High card – the highest single card in the players’ hand. If a player does not have any of the above hands, they must “fold.”

When a player’s turn to bet comes around, he or she may raise the previous bettor’s bet by saying “raise” before placing chips or cash into the pot. Alternatively, a player may say “call” to match the previous bet, or bluff by raising their bet while knowing that they will not win. In some variants, a player may also choose to check, which means they will not place any chips into the pot, and will only bet when it is their turn to do so. This is a good way to stay in the game without losing any money.