The Basics of Poker


Poker is a family of card games in which players bet against each other. Each player is dealt a hand of cards, and the highest hand wins.

The game is played from a standard deck of 52 cards, sometimes with one or two jokers. The ace is usually high, and the other cards are ranked according to suit (spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs).

Most variations of the game award the pot to the highest-ranked hand. However, there are a few variants of the game in which the highest and lowest hands divide the pot, known as “high-low split” games.


The first deal starts with the dealer, who burns a card from the top of the deck and deals the flop. A betting round begins, with the player to the left of the big blind acting first by folding or calling.

Betting continues until all of the players have either called or folded. If a player folds, they lose any chips that have put into the pot.

When a player raises, they add more chips to the pot than those previously called by other players. They can do this by putting in more than the previous caller put into the pot, or by raising their original bet by exactly as much as the previous caller.

A player may also “check” or bet in place, meaning that they do not put any chips into the pot and leave the betting to the next player. This option is often used by players who do not want to risk a bet, and it does not affect their position in the betting.