The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game for two to fourteen players, with betting that involves raising and re-raising. The object is to win the pot, which is the sum of all bets made in a single round. This is done by getting the highest poker hand, or by putting in enough money to prevent another player from winning the pot. There are various forms of poker, but most require the same basic rules.

Before players receive their cards, they must make a forced bet—this is called the ante or blind bet (the amount varies by game). After the antes have been placed, the dealer shuffles the deck and deals each player 2 cards face down—these are the player’s hidden cards and are known as their hole or pocket. Then 3 cards are dealt face up—known as the flop—to the center of the table and are revealed to all players. The next round of betting begins, and the player with the best five-card poker hand wins the pot.

The first player to act must raise by at least the amount of the last raiser or else fold. This is called checking. If a player checks, they can continue to call raises for the amount that they have already staked—this is called playing heads-up poker. Players may also choose to remain in the pot by saying “call,” meaning that they wish to raise by the same amount as the player before them.