The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game of chance and strategy, in which each player uses cards to try to make the best possible hand. There are hundreds of different variations of the game, but the basic rules remain the same.

First, each player must place a small bet called an ante (or blind) before being dealt any cards. Usually this is a fixed amount, like $1 or $5.

After the ante is placed, the dealer deals two cards to each player. These cards are known as the “hole cards,” and are kept secret from the other players.

When the next round of betting begins, the players can fold their hand or raise the ante to add more money into the pot. They can also check, which means that they agree to match the bet made by the other players, or call, which means that they wish to stay in the hand and continue with the betting.

Once the bets are completed, the remaining players collect the pot. If there is more than one player left, a showdown occurs and the winner is determined.

There are several families of cards, each with its own variants of the game. The oldest family is the straight, which is a series of consecutive cards in sequence, without any common suit.