The Basics of Poker

Poker is a family of card games that vary in deck configuration, number of cards in play, and rules that involve one or more rounds of betting. They share the same basic objective: players wager money to create the best possible hand.

In most Poker games, each player “buys in” by placing a certain number of chips in the pot, called an ante. Some games require players to make forced bets in addition to the ante, called blind bets. These bets are rotated around the table so that each player makes a turn making the blind bet.

The Dealer shuffles the deck, cuts, and deals the appropriate number of cards to the players in each round, starting with the player on the left. The first of what may be several betting intervals then begins, followed by a showdown in which the player with the best Poker hand wins the pot.

A standard Poker hand contains five cards of the same rank and from different suits. The highest possible hand is 5 of a kind (a straight), followed by three of a kind, two pair, and a flush. Ties are broken by the highest unmatched cards or secondary pairs (in a full house).

Most Poker games are played with poker chips, which are usually white in color and value at least whatever the minimum ante or bet is. A game with seven or more players often has at least 200 chips.