The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game played by two or more players and governed by a set of rules. It is a game of chance, but the outcome of any particular hand is largely determined by a player’s choices made on the basis of probability, psychology and game theory. Players place bets into a “pot” during each round of play, and the pot is won by the player who forms the highest-ranking poker hand at the end of the betting rounds.

Poker can be played with any number of players, but the ideal number is six or more. Each player starts the game with a supply of chips, which are used to place bets and to indicate the strength of a poker hand. The lowest-value chip is white, and the next higher in value is a red chip. A white chip is worth the amount of the minimum ante or blind bet, while a red chip is usually worth either 10 or 20 white chips.

A poker hand is formed when the player has five cards of equal rank in one suit, three matching cards of another suit, or two pairs of unmatched cards. The highest poker hand is a royal flush, which consists of four cards of the same rank, all in sequence and from the same suit. Other high poker hands are straights and three of a kind. There are also low poker hands, which are tied when all the players have the same cards.