The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game that requires skill and luck to win, either in cash or tournament play. Its rules vary between formats, but the general concept is the same: ante something (typically money) to get dealt cards, then bet into a pot in the center of the table on each hand. The highest hand wins all the chips in the pot.

The dealer shuffles the deck, cuts it, and deals each player seven cards (the “community”). Players aim to make the best five-card hand using their own two cards plus the five community cards. Each time you bet, it increases the total amount you have to pay in order to compete for the pot.

You say “call” if you want to bet the same amount as the last person, or raise your bet. You can also say “fold” if you don’t want to call or raise.

In the opening hands, players are feeling each other out and there’s usually a few bluffs in the mix. Then betting rises and the key players are revealed.

If there are more than 10 players, it’s common to break ties by looking at the high card. If that fails, a higher pair is looked at. If there’s no pair, the highest single card is used to break the tie. The highest card also breaks ties in a flush, straight, or three-of-a-kind. There are a few other variations to this, but these are the most commonly used.