The Basics of Poker



Poker is a card game where players try to make the best poker hand. Each player is dealt a hand of cards (hole card and face up) from a standard deck of 52 cards, sometimes with additional contrasting-colored packs called jokers.

Rules vary, but in general a hand must be made up of five cards. A hand can be a pair, a flush, a straight, or a three of a kind. A flush is five cards in one suit; a straight is five cards of the same suit, but not in sequence.

Dealing and betting

The cards are dealt in three rounds, each distributing one faceup card to each active player. After each round there is a betting interval and a showdown in which the hands are revealed.

Betting Intervals

The first bettor in a betting interval must bet at least the minimum amount established by the rules. During the interval other players can either call or raise, depending on the situation.

If a player checks, the betting interval ends and all other players must call or raise. If a player folds, the player is out of the game.


The best Poker players know how to play the game, and they take advantage of every opportunity. They bet aggressively with premium opening hands, such as kings, queens or aces, and they raise the stakes when their winnings are on the line. This aggressive attitude can make the difference between winning and losing, even in games with fewer than 10 players.