Basics of Poker


Poker is a game of chance in which players wager chips on the outcome of a hand of cards. There are a variety of variants, but all have certain fundamental characteristics.

The first step in playing poker is to ‘ante’, a small amount of money or chip that each player must contribute before the deal begins. The ante is a way to motivate each player to play rather than fold.

After everyone has antes, the dealer deals two cards to each player and keeps them secret from the other players. Each player must then decide if they are going to bet, call or fold.

To bet, a player must match the amount of the previous bettor’s bet. If the bettor fails to do this, the player must fold; if the bettor calls, the opponent must match their bet or loses the pot.

Alternatively, the bettor may raise, which is an additional amount of money that the player must add to the pot. If the bettor raises, the opponent must also increase their bet to at least meet the initial bet.

The player with the best hand wins the pot. This is based on the rank of each individual hand, which can be one or more of five types: pairs, three of a kind, high card, straight and flush. When hands tie on the rank of any of these, they break ties by looking at the high card outside the four of a kind.