The Basics of Poker


Poker is a family of card games where players bet over which hand is best. These games differ in many ways, including deck configuration, number of cards in play and rules, but all have one or more betting rounds between each card dealt to each player.

The best hand wins the pot, but some games have variations where the highest and lowest hands divide the pot instead. This is called a high-low split game, and it’s a common form of tournament play.

Each player is given a set of five initial cards (called “jacks”), and the first betting phase begins. During the draw, each player may add additional bets or pass the table to receive new cards and continue playing.

When all players have made bets, the betting round ends and the cards are shuffled. The dealer then deals the cards in rotation to the left, one at a time face up, until a jack appears.

In some variants of poker, each player is required to place an amount into the pot before a deal occurs; these are called antes or blinds.

After a deal, each player may then make a bet in any of several betting intervals; in each betting interval the first player to make a bet is called a “bet” and a player who makes a bet that exactly matches the previous bettor is said to call.

In some versions of poker, a player may check; this is similar to a fold, but it allows the player to remain in the hand, provided no other players have made a bet in that betting interval. When a player checks, the bets that have been made in the betting interval are collected into the main pot.