The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game that is played by players who have “chips” (money) to bet with. Players are dealt two cards (“hole” cards) and five community cards are dealt face up on the table (the “river”). Each player aims to make the best possible 5-card poker hand using their own two hidden cards and the community cards. When betting ends, the player with the highest ranked poker hand wins the pot/all the chips bet so far.

When it’s your turn to bet, you can either check, call, or raise. A raise is to make a bet equal to the last person’s bet, or higher. If you raise, your opponent must either call or fold.

If the person next to you calls, it’s likely that they have a good hand and want to win the pot/all the money bet so far. In this case you can call and hope that they don’t have a better hand, or you can raise the stakes and try to beat them.

In most poker games, there is a single “pot” that contains all the bets made during a particular round of play. Depending on the game, players may have to put an initial amount of money into the pot before being dealt cards. These are called the antes, blinds or bring-ins and are usually forced bets. Then, after the betting phase, a showdown occurs in which each player’s cards are revealed. The player with the highest ranked poker hand wins all the money in the pot/all the bets made so far.