The Basics of Poker



Using cards, poker players create a hand. The goal of the game is to win the pot by having the best hand. There are hundreds of different ways to play poker. However, the basic rules of the game remain the same.

The first round of play begins with an ante, usually in the range of $1 to $5. The ante is an entry bet that is placed before the cards are dealt. The first player to place a bet is called the active player.

A second round of betting occurs after the flop. The flop is a four-card hand with three different suits. If the flop is a pair of kings, a pair of jacks, and a pair of tens, you have a full house. Having a full house is a tough hand to beat if you bet immediately.

A third round of betting takes place after the turn. In the turn, any player may choose to match the ante. A player may also choose to raise. A “raise” is an increase in the total bet, thereby extending the pot.

A “showdown” occurs when all players have showdown their hands. The showdown is the point at which the winning hand is revealed. It’s also the point at which a player can check, fold, or raise. The pot is divided equally between players in the event of a draw.

The highest card in the board is called an overcard. The top card of the board is a joker. In certain special hands, the joker can count as a fifth card.