The Basics of Poker


The game of poker involves betting and raising money in a communal pot. There are many variants of the game, but most of them share similar features. Players put money into the pot before being dealt cards, and they can raise or re-raise as they wish. The highest hand wins the pot. Players can also drop out of the current round of play if they think that they have a weak hand, and thus surrender their rights to any side pots that may have been formed.

Each player must ante a certain amount of money (the exact amount varies by game) to be dealt cards. The dealer shuffles the cards and then deals each player two cards face-down. Then a series of rounds of betting take place. At the end of the round, the player with the best hand wins the pot.

To bet, say “call” or “raise” after the player to your right has spoken. “Call” means to make a bet that is equal to the last bet and “raise” means to increase your bet by more than the previous player’s bet.

The rank of standard poker hands depends on their odds (probability). In addition to a pair, a straight contains five consecutive cards of the same suit; a flush has five matching cards from more than one suit. Ties are broken by the highest unmatched card or, in a full house, by the higher of the secondary pairs.