The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played by two or more players. The object of the game is to win a pot (a sum of bets) by having a higher-ranking poker hand than all other players. This can be done by calling or raising the bets of those who have already called them, or by making a bet that no one else calls. Bluffing is a key element of the game, and it can be very profitable.

There are many different forms of Poker, and the rules vary slightly from one variant to another. However, all forms of the game share certain fundamental principles. For example, the game is usually played with a pot, and there are several betting intervals for each deal. The player who makes the first bet, or “opens,” must put chips into the pot that are at least as high as those of his or her predecessors. The other players may call the bet, raise it, or drop out of the betting.

Some poker games are played using a fund, or “kitty,” that is established by the players. The kitty is used to pay for new decks of cards and food and drinks. The kitty can also be used to cover the cost of a tournament entry fee. The kitty is generally divided equally among the players who remain in the game. It is possible to play poker without any money, but some players choose to gamble with real cash and keep records of their winnings and losses for tax purposes.