The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game which can be played in private homes, casinos and online. It is a popular social activity, but it also involves serious skill and can earn a player thousands of dollars in a single tournament.


The game begins with players placing a ‘pre-bet’ (ante, amount varies by game) into the pot before cards are dealt to them. When the first card is dealt, each player looks at their hand and decides whether or not to bet into the pot, call the bet, raise or fold.

Each betting round begins with the dealer putting three face-up community cards on the board, and everyone still in the hand has a chance to bet, raise or fold. After this betting round is complete, the dealer puts a fourth card on the board for anyone to use.

Players continue to bet or fold until a final round of betting is complete, which is called the’showdown’. At the end of this last betting round, everyone shows their hands and the best five-card poker hand wins the pot.


The standard deck of 52 cards is used, with each hand consisting of five cards. The hand must have the highest value, which may be a high or low card, a pair, a flush, straight or a full house.

The best natural poker hand is a straight, which is a running sequence of five cards. A straight flush is the second-best, which consists of five cards of the same suit.

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