The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game that mixes skill, luck, and bluffing. There are many different types of poker, but the most popular forms are cash games and tournament play.

Whether you want to play for fun or for money, it’s important to know the basics of poker. Here are some things to keep in mind:

The cards used for playing poker are usually a standard 52-card deck with four suits: hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds. Some variants of the game use a different deck of cards.

There are two main types of poker: draw and stud. In draw poker, each player is dealt five cards face down and can discard one or more of those cards and receive replacements from the undealt portion of the deck.

A round of betting follows each deal and a final showdown takes place. Players may also exchange their cards with other players during the betting rounds.

Betting in a poker game begins with a bet, or “call.” The bet must contain the same number of chips as the previous player’s bet. The next player to the left must then call that bet, or “raise.” If a player raises, they put in more than enough chips to “call”; if they do not, they must drop out of the betting and lose any chips that have been in the pot.

Some types of poker have a “kitty.” These are special funds established by the players. The kitty can be used to pay for new cards or for food and drinks at the table. If the kitty is not re-established, then any chips that remain in the kitty at the end of a poker game are divided among the remaining players.

In a fixed-limit game, no player may bet or raise by more than the maximum amount allowed in any given betting interval. This limit applies in both draw and stud.

A pot is the sum of all bets and raises in a round. In a pot, each bet and raise is limited by the total amount of chips in the pot.

The winner of a hand is the player who holds the best hand. This hand consists of the highest card, the highest pair, the highest three of a kind, or the best straight.

When two hands have identical pairs, the fifth card in each hand decides which hand wins. A pair of aces beats any other hand that contains an ace.

A hand with a pair of aces is called “Aces High.” The highest possible hand in most games is 7-5-4-3-2, but in some games an ace may optionally be treated as the lowest card and thereby make 6-4-3-2-A the lowest hand and a pair of aces the lowest pair.

If a player’s exposed cards include a pair, they must be exposed to all of the other players before raising. This rule can be frustrating for the other players, but it allows them to see a part of your hand.