The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game of chance played with cards. The object is to form a hand of cards which will beat another player’s hand at the end of a series of betting rounds. The highest hand wins the pot.

First, each player must place an initial amount of money into the pot (called a “ante”) before the cards are dealt. Depending on the rules of the particular game, ante stakes may be a fixed amount or a fraction of the main pot.

After the ante has been placed, players are dealt one card face down and another card face up. Each player may then check, which means not placing a bet; open, which means making the first bet; or fold, which means dropping out of the hand.

In some games, the player to the left of the dealer can shuffle a deck before the deal is made. In other games, the dealer shuffles cards after each deal.

The game is then divided into a number of betting rounds, each round consisting of a set of cards dealt to all players. Then there is a showdown, in which the hand is revealed and the player with the best hand collects the pot.

A hand of poker is ranked according to its odds (probability). The highest hand, a royal flush, beats all other hands in a straight flush, while the lowest hand, 6-4-3-2-A, beats all other hands in two or more suits.