The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game that can be played by two or more players and involves betting. While poker may appear to be a game of chance, it actually requires a considerable amount of skill and psychology to win. The game can be played in a variety of ways, with the rules differing slightly from one variant to the next.

The cards are shuffled and then dealt face up or down depending on the game variant being played. Each player places into the pot a number of chips (representing money) equal to the total contribution by the players before him. This begins the first of what may be several betting intervals in the game.

Players can open the betting by raising the ante or blind bet. They can also choose to call or check on their cards. After calling, they can discard and draw 1 to 3 new cards to replace their old ones in the hopes of improving their hand.

A poker hand is made up of a pair of cards of the same rank or three matching cards of the same rank plus two unmatched cards. A straight is 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. A flush is five cards of the same suit, with an ace being high. If more than one hand has five of a kind, the higher one wins (Five kings beats four queens, for example). Poker also includes wild cards which can take on whatever suit and rank their possessor desires.