The Basics of Poker

Poker is a game of chance where players bet or raise chips against other players, and the player who has the best hand wins the pot. The game can be played in a variety of formats and rules, and is a popular hobby among many people worldwide.

The rules of poker vary from country to country and region to region. In most countries, a dealer deals the cards and a pot is established.

In some games, a player or players are required to place an initial amount of money into the pot before the cards are dealt. These are called forced bets and come in three forms: antes, blinds and bring-ins.


In a standard poker game, each player must place an initial bet before the cards are dealt. This bet is called an ante, and it is the minimum amount of money that may be placed into the pot in any betting interval.

Big Blind

A big blind is a type of forced bet in which the player two positions to the left of the dealer has to put into the pot before the cards are dealt. This bet typically amounts to a certain amount of money based on the stakes of the game, which is generally the minimum bet in that version of the game.


In a poker game, players must choose to either “call” (put in the same number of chips into the pot as another player) or “raise” (put in more chips into the pot than the previous bet). A call is stronger than a raise, because it can win the pot without showing any cards; however, a call is weaker than a raise because raising must be done in one move, not incrementally.

Draw: In a draw poker game, each active player is dealt five cards facedown, and the deal is followed by one betting interval, beginning with the player nearest the dealer’s left. After the draw, each player can discard one or more of his cards and receive replacements from the undealt portion of the pack. After the draw, there is a second betting interval, followed by a showdown.

If two or more players have the same high card, their hands are compared and the highest one is determined to win. In the case of a tie, the winner is decided by the second highest card.

Straight: A straight is a five-card poker hand consisting of a running sequence of cards, regardless of suit. A straight is the strongest hand possible, and it can break a tie.

Pair: A pair is a pair of two identical cards, which can be either in a suit or not. A pair can be paired with other cards or with the community cards to form a poker hand.

Flush: A flush is a poker hand made of five consecutive cards in a suit, usually containing a pair of kings or higher. It is usually a very strong hand and can break a tie.