The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game where players bet on the value of their hands of five cards. A hand is valued inversely to its mathematical frequency, and the more unusual it is the higher the hand ranks. Players may also bluff, betting that they have the best hand when they do not, in order to force players holding inferior hands to concede or call the bet.

The rules of poker vary widely by region, but most games have some similarities. The game is played with a fixed number of cards, and the bets (called chips) are placed into a common pool called the pot. The player who has the highest hand wins the pot. If no one has a high hand, the highest card breaks the tie.

A single deck of cards is shuffled and dealt in clockwise order to each player, starting with the player on the dealer’s left. Each player is then given the choice to open – meaning raise the ante – or check. A player who opens must raise a minimum of $1 and is obliged to continue raising until another player raises with them, or all players check.

Any player may reshuffle the cards if they wish, and may cut the pack with the player on their right. It is customary to establish a fund for the purchase of new decks, and other expenses such as food and drink. This fund is known as the kitty and any player who leaves before the game is over loses their share of any low-denomination chips that comprised the kitty.

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