The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game where players try to make the best hand. It involves a mixture of skills, including the ability to read other players, predict odds, and keep a cool demeanor.

The game begins with the dealer dealing one card facedown to each player (the hole cards). Next, each player is dealt a second card and is forced to post a small blind or big blind bet. The small blind must post exactly twice the amount of the big blind; if no one raises, the small blind may fold or check (a common way to signal this is to tap the table with a fist).

In most games, a player’s first action is to either fold, call or raise the big blind. A player may also exchange a large chip for its full value in the pot, or make an over-call (an action that requires a player to announce their intentions before placing a bet).

Betting Intervals

In each betting interval, each active player is required to place at least as much money into the pot as was placed in the previous betting round. A betting round ends when all players have folded, called their option or checked.

The highest-ranking hand in a standard game of poker is a royal flush; it is made up of a 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace, all from the same suit, but with different ranks (clubs, diamonds, hearts or spades). Two or more identical hands tie and divide any winnings equally.