The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game that may be played by two or more players and involves betting between players in a hand. Players place chips (representing money, for which poker is invariably played) into a common pot during each betting interval, and the player with the highest-ranking poker hand at the end of the hand wins the pot.

Each player starts the hand by putting an amount of money (called an “ante”) into the pot before being dealt cards. Each player then makes a bet in turn, either raising or calling the bet of the person to his left. The person who raises a bet is called the “bettor.”

In the standard 53-card pack, the joker is not used and the ace is always considered the highest card. Some poker games use wild cards, which are not used for any rank or suit and can only be substituted for other cards to form certain hands.

General Rules

In poker, the highest possible hand is the Royal flush, which consists of an ace, king, queen, and jack all in the same suit. The second highest hand is four of a kind, which is four cards of the same rank, and a straight. In some games the ace breaks ties, but in others it does not (for example, A-8-5-3-2 of spades would be a straight, but A-K-Q-J-T wouldn’t). Three of a kind beats pair, and the remaining hands break ties according to High Card rules.