The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game where players compete for an amount of money or chips contributed by the players themselves (called the pot). Each player attempts to control the amount of money in the pot based on their hand and on their prediction as to what their opponents may be holding.

Typically, the cards are dealt to each player at random. During the game, each player acts on his hand by folding or betting, and may also choose to check. The first player to act is the small blind, who can fold, call, or raise his bet to continue the betting round.

The small blind’s action is followed by the big blind’s, and so on until every player has been dealt two cards. Depending on the rules of the specific poker variant being played, this may be one or more rounds of betting.

A full house is made up of three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank, such as a queen, jack, and ace. The highest full house wins, as does a straight flush containing five cards in sequential order of the same suit, such as Q-J-T-10.

When hands tie, the high cards outside the pair break ties. The high cards inside the pair, in turn, are compared to the other hand’s highest card to determine the winner.

The most popular form of poker is Texas Hold ’em. At the beginning of a Texas Hold ’em game, all players buy in with a certain number of chips. Each chip is worth a certain amount of money, according to the minimum ante or bet set by the table.