The Basics of Poker



Poker is a card game played with chips. The number of players varies, but a minimum of seven is required. There are two or more betting intervals during a deal, after which the remaining players show their cards and the best hand wins the pot. The pot is the total amount of chips that have been bet during the hand.

Each player has two personal cards, called their ‘hand’, and five community cards. The aim of the game is to make the best five-card ‘hand’ from your own two cards and the community cards. Each time a bet is made (by the player to your left) you can call it, raise it or fold.

When a player calls, they must put in the same amount of chips as their predecessors, or raise it higher. If they cannot raise, they must drop out of the hand.

The poker community has a lot of tells to help them read each other’s emotions and intentions. Some classic tells include shallow breathing, sighing, nostrils flaring, eyes watering and blinking excessively. If a player glances at their chips when the flop comes, it is often an indication that they have a strong hand.

Poker is traditionally played with a standard deck of 52 cards. There are four suits, spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs, and no suit is ranked higher than another. The highest poker hands are the pair, the three of a kind, the straight and the flush. The high card breaks ties in the event of multiple equal hands.