The Basics of Poker


In poker, the highest card in a hand is the winner. The game can be played with as many as five players, but the ideal number is six or eight. The amount of money won at the end of a hand is known as the pot. This is the total of all bets made by all the players in a single deal. The player who has the highest hand or makes a bet that no other player calls can win the pot.

The initial action of a hand is usually a check or raise. The next move is to discard or fold. The first three community cards are dealt face up. The dealer then “burns” a card from the top of the deck. All remaining players then choose to discard one, two or three cards, based on their hand rankings. The final hand is called a showdown. When all players fold, the player to their left becomes the small blind and acts first in each round.

The strongest hand in poker is a royal flush. A royal flush has five cards of the same suit and is considered the best hand. It is impossible to beat a royal flush of the same suit, but two identical hands of the same suit can tie. Other hands that are not considered royal flushes include a straight flush and four of a kind. A straight flush, on the other hand, is made up of four cards of the same rank.