The Basics of Poker



Poker is a card game that involves betting. It can be a game of chance, but it also requires skill and psychology. The goal of the game is to make the best hand using five cards. Several variations of poker exist; they vary in how many cards are dealt, whether the cards are face up or face down, and how the game is played.

In most poker games, players must first ante (put in some forced amount; the exact amount varies by game). The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals them to each player one at a time, beginning with the player on his or her right. The dealer may or may not ‘bluff’ (put a bet but then fold), and players can call, raise, or decline the bets.

The standard poker hand consists of two distinct pairs of cards and the highest pair wins (or breaks ties) in most games. Some poker games include wild cards, which can take the form of any suit, and are used as additional high or low hands.

Some poker games have a high-low split, with the highest-ranked low hand winning half the pot and the highest-ranked high hand winning the other half (known as scooping). Other poker games award the pot to the best high hand only. Some poker games have different rules for how cards in a hand are ranked; for example, some allow a flush to beat a straight.