The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game of chance where players compete to be the first to make a winning hand. It is played from a standard pack of 52 cards, including a wild card which can take on any suit.

The dealer shuffles the deck and deals cards one at a time to each player, starting with the player on the left of the dealer. Each deal is interrupted for a betting interval, in which the players can either “call” (put into the pot the same amount of chips as the previous bettor), “raise,” or “fold” (“drop”) their hand, discarding it and losing any chips put into the pot.

There are three rounds of dealing, each distributing one card face-up to each active player. A betting interval follows each round; the showdown, in which the hole cards are shown to the players, occurs after the fourth and last betting interval.

The highest possible poker hand is five of a kind, which beats any straight flush. Ties are broken by the highest unmatched cards or secondary pairs (in a full house [a five-card hand made up of three of a kind and a pair]).

In cash games, the player who has the most chips wins the pot. The game is usually very fast-paced and the players bet continuously until one person has all their chips or everyone folds.