The Basics of Poker
Poker is one of the most popular card games in the world. It has been around since ancient times and is an ancestor to blackjack and rummy.
The game is played with a standard 52-card pack, sometimes with jokers. Traditionally, the dealer deals only one pack at a time. However, in most clubs and among professional players, two packs are used, which allow for more speedy dealing.
Players are dealt one card face-up and one card face-down, beginning with the player to their left. The deal is interrupted for a betting interval, which may take several rounds.
In the betting intervals, players may bet or raise by a certain amount, as established in each game variant. In fixed-limit games, no one may bet or raise by more than the amount set before the first betting round begins.
If a player does not want to bet or raise, he may “check.” In this case, his hand is automatically discarded and no longer competes for the pot. In later betting intervals, he may bet or raise by the amount required to call another player’s earlier bet.
A player may also “drop,” which essentially means that he will no longer be involved in the current pot. Depending on the variant of poker, a drop may be made by dropping the entire pot or by dropping one or more side pots (i.e., those that are not part of the main pot).
There is usually a kitty, which is a special fund that all players contribute to. It is built up by “cutting” one low-value chip from each pot in which more than one raise is made. This chip is used to pay for new decks of cards and for food and drinks at the table.