The Basics of Poker


Poker is a family of card games in which players bet over which hand has the best chance to win. It is played worldwide, with many variations.

A player starts a game by choosing a number of chips, usually between a few and several hundred. Then they place a number of chips into the betting pot (also called “the pot”).

In most poker variants, a player’s turn to bet always passes to the left from player to player. At the end of each betting interval, each player to the left must either “call” by putting into the pot the same number of chips as the previous player; or “raise” by placing more than enough chips into the pot to call; or “drop,” or “fold,” which puts no chips into the pot and leaves the player out of the betting until the next deal.

There are five basic poker hands: a flush, straight, 3 of a kind, 2 pair and full house. A straight is 5 cards of consecutive rank, but they must come from the same suit. A straight flush beats a royal flush but is not as high in rank. A flush contains any five cards of the same suit; a royal flush, the highest rank, includes a 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of the same suit.

The winning hand is determined by the highest-ranking card in each of these hands. In a straight flush, the highest-ranking card beats the second-highest card; in a straight, the highest-ranking card breaks a tie, as do the third and fourth cards. A full house is 3 cards of a kind plus two other unmatched cards, while a pair is 2 cards of the same rank and another unmatched card.

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