The Basics of Poker



Poker is a card game played with chips (or cash), in which the player who has the highest-ranking hand wins the pot. The game is governed by a series of rules, ranging from betting structures to hand ranking systems.

The game begins with a deal of cards to all players. Each player receives one facedown hole card and one card faceup. A betting interval follows, and the showdown occurs after all players have checked or made their own bets.

Typically, the best five-card combination from the available cards counts as a hand. In some variants, the hand ranks are higher or lower than those of traditional poker.

When a betting interval ends, each player must place in the pot the amount of money required by the specific poker variant. This amount is called an ante and is the minimum amount each player must bet in order to play.

A player who is not the first to ante can still call or raise, but only if he exactly matches the previous bet. If he does not meet the previous bet, he is said to fold.

In a game of fixed-limit Texas hold’em, the minimum opening raise is always twice the big blind. In pot-limit hold’em, the maximum raise can be all of the chips in the stack, which is called an “all-in” bet.