The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played by two or more players. The object of the game is to win the pot (all bets placed during a hand). A player can win by having the highest ranked hand of cards, or by continuing to wager that their hand is the best until all other players drop out.

Each player places an ante bet before the deal. They are then given three cards and must decide whether to place a “play” wager (equal to their ante bet) to pit their hand against the dealer’s or fold. Optimum strategy says that you should play any hand better than a Queen, Six or Four and fold all hands worse.

After the initial deal, a round of betting begins with players placing mandatory bets (called blinds) into the pot. Then the dealer shuffles and cuts, and then deals each player their cards face up or face down, depending on the variant of poker being played.

Each player then uses their own two cards plus the community cards to form a five card hand. Then they can either call a bet made by the player to their left, or raise it. If a player chooses to raise, then they must put into the pot at least as many chips as the previous player, or they will lose all their money in the current round. When a player has no more chips to put into the pot, they must say “drop” or “fold,” and cannot participate in the next round.