The Basics of Poker



Poker is a card game played from a standard deck of 52 cards. Some variant games use multiple packs of cards or add a few jokers (wild cards).

The game begins when one or more players must make forced bets, typically an ante or a blind bet, before the cards are dealt. These bets are gathered into a central pot.

Betting is done in clockwise order and continues until all players call or fold. When the betting round ends, a winner is determined.


In standard poker, each hand contains five cards and is ranked by their odds (probability). There are four suits (spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs), but no suit has higher rank than another.

There are a number of standard poker hands, including:

Full house – 3 matching cards of the same rank and 2 unmatched cards.

Flush – 5 cards of the same suit that skip around in rank or sequence, but are from the same suit.

Straight – 5 cards of the same suit that run in consecutive order.

Three of a kind – two matching cards of the same rank and three unmatched cards.

Pair – two matching cards of the same rank plus a third card that is different from the first pair.

The highest hand wins the pot. If there are multiple hands tied, the highest card breaks ties. In some games, there are wild cards, which can take on any suit and rank as desired.