The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which the players try to make the best hand. The game uses a standard 52-card deck, and may also include cards called jokers.

The game is governed by rules which specify how the cards are ranked and what hands are valid. The highest hand wins the pot.

A pack of cards is shuffled and dealt in rotation to each player. The dealer deals two face-up cards to each player. Then the first betting round begins. Each player can fold, check, or raise.

In many games the first bet is called the “ante.” The ante is typically a small amount, usually set by the table. The ante is the money that a player must place into the pot before any cards are dealt.

After a player has placed an ante, the dealer deals two cards to each of the players in the hand. These cards are kept secret from the rest of the players at the table.

During the first betting round, each player can choose to fold (not play), call (match the bet), or raise (add more money into the betting pool). The game then proceeds around the table in clockwise fashion until all players have had their chance to bet.

The game can be played with any number of players from 2 to 14; the ideal number is six. The objective is to win the “pot” by having the best hand or by making a bet that no other player calls.