The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game of chance in which players try to make the best hand possible. The player with the highest-ranking hand wins the pot.

Rules of poker vary by variant, but most poker games have certain basic characteristics. In most cases, one or more players must place an initial amount of money into the pot (called the ante) before cards are dealt.

After the ante is placed, the dealer deals the cards to the players, starting with the player on their left. The players then bet or fold their hands.

Standard poker hands are valued at the high card, followed by pairs of the same rank and then three of a kind. The highest possible hand is five of a kind, which beats any straight flush.

Pairs are formed when two of the same cards are held, like two 2s. A pair is broken by any other card that is higher than the first.

In most variants, four of a kind is considered a tie. If there are two or more hands that qualify, the hand with the highest-ranking four of a kind wins.

Ties are broken by the next highest card of each hand, following the high-card rules. Flushes are also broken by the next highest card, but only if all of the cards are the same suit.

The most common variant of poker is Texas hold ’em. The game is played with a deck of 52 cards, with each player receiving a hole card and a face-up card. The cards are shuffled and dealt in a series of betting rounds, with a showdown at the end.