The Basics of Poker

Poker is a game of chance in which each player puts down chips that represent money and competes for a share of the pot. The winner of each round wins the entire pot and any winnings from the previous rounds. The winner may also win some of the chips put down by the players before the game began, if the rules allow this.

There are many variations of poker, but the basic rules remain the same. In every game, each player is dealt a hand of cards from a standard deck. The objective is to have the best 5-card hand at the end of the game. If no one has the best 5-card hand, the game ends in a draw and the money is shared among the players with the highest hands.

In each betting interval, each player must put into the pot at least as much money as was required of the player before him. Until this is done, each player may “check,” which means that he doesn’t make a bet; “open,” which means that he makes the first bet in the betting interval; or “fold” (which means that he puts no chips into the pot and discards his hand), dropping out of the game until the next deal.

In most games, a player’s total bet or raise is limited to the number of chips in the pot at that time. This limits the amount of money that can be wagered, preventing people from over-betting. The game can be played with any number of players from 2 to 14; most varieties involve fewer than 10 players.