The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players place chips (representing money) into a “pot” that is in the middle of the table. Usually, the highest hand wins the pot. Each player has the option of calling, raising or folding his or her cards. Players may not raise by more than a certain number of chips, typically a minimum of two or five. This amount is known as the limit and varies by poker variant.

In order to play poker you will need a table and six or more people willing to participate. Each player makes a “blind” bet at the beginning of each deal (the amount varies depending on the game) and then is dealt cards. At each subsequent betting interval, one player (determined by the rules of the particular game being played) has the privilege or obligation to make the first bet. The other players must then decide whether to call or raise the bet.

A high pair is two distinct cards of the same rank. A straight is five consecutive cards of the same suit. A flush is five cards of the same rank, but not in a sequence. A full house is three matching cards of one rank plus two matching cards of another rank. A two pair is two distinct pairs of cards. The high card breaks ties if no other hands qualify for the top ranking.

The popularity of poker has increased since the 1970s. It is now a common game at home, in casinos and in other places. Poker is even shown on TV, which has helped to push it into the spotlight.