The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game with countless variations, but the basic principles are universal. Players place bets (called chips) before seeing their cards, which are collected in a pot. A player with the highest hand wins the pot. Players can also bluff, betting that they have a high-ranking hand when they do not.

The game begins with one or more forced bets, called the ante and blind bets. The dealer shuffles and deals two cards to each player, starting with the player on their right. Each player can then decide whether to call the bet, raise it or fold.

When the betting round is complete, the dealer deals three cards face up on the board (called the flop). These are community cards that anyone can use. Then another betting round takes place.

After the flop, the turn and river are dealt. Then it’s time for the showdown. The player with the best five-card poker hand wins the pot.

A royal flush is a straight of five consecutive cards of the same suit (all hearts, all diamonds, all clubs or all spades). A full house is made up of three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another rank. A pair is 2 cards of the same rank. And a straight flush is 5 consecutive cards that skip around in rank or are from the same suit. These poker hands are the most valuable in poker. But to be the best in poker you need more than just the highest-ranking hand.