The Basics of Poker



Poker is a card game in which players bet chips on their hands. The goal is to maximize winnings while minimizing losses.

Poker can be played by any number of players, though it is most commonly played with a minimum of six or seven players. Each player starts the game with an initial contribution, called an ante, which they can increase or decline as the game progresses.

Each deal begins with the first player to the left of the dealer making a bet, which is then called “calling.” The next player to the left of the first player must then match the call by placing in the pot the same number of chips; they may also “raise” their bet by putting in more than the amount they were initially required to “call.”

The betting rounds then proceed clockwise. The player to the left of the last player who bet must then either “call” or “raise” their bet, and so on until all players have matched their bet or folded.

After all players have matched their bets, the cards are revealed, and a showdown is held. The best hand wins the pot. In some games the best hand is determined by the suit of the fifth card; in others, the highest and lowest hands split the pot.