The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game that involves betting between two or more players. The game has many variants, but all involve a common set of rules. While the game can be highly unpredictable, a player’s actions at any point during the hand are typically determined by a combination of probability, psychology and game theory.

During a hand, each player contributes chips (representing money) into the pot in order to make a bet. Players can raise the amount of money they put into the pot by saying “raise” before the next player. Players can also choose to “call” the amount of money someone else has raised, or they can fold, in which case they will not contribute any further to the pot.

Before a hand begins, players must put an initial contribution into the pot, called an ante. This is usually equal to the amount of the blind bet. The dealer shuffles, and then deals cards to each player one at a time, beginning with the player to their left. Depending on the game, these cards may be dealt face-up or face-down.

At the end of each betting round, the highest hand wins the pot. A poker hand consists of five distinct cards. Each card has a value in inverse proportion to its mathematical frequency. Ties are broken by looking at the high card. For example, a pair of Aces beats a pair of Kings, which beats a pair of Queens, etc.