The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game with the twin elements of chance and skill. Over time the application of skill virtually eliminates the variance of luck. It is a fast-paced game in which players make bets against each other and against the house. The player with the highest ranked poker hand when all cards are revealed wins the pot (all bets placed at that time).

Each player has two hidden “hole” cards and five community cards which form their poker hand. During betting rounds, players can either Call, Raise or Fold. A player may only bet a maximum amount of money at each round.

The highest ranking poker hands are made up of four of a kind and straight flush. The remaining hands are based on their odds of being dealt. If two hands have the same rank, ties are broken by the highest unmatched card or secondary pairs (in the case of a full house).

When it’s your turn to act, you must place chips into the pot that is at least equal to the amount of the last bet. Saying “I call” means you are calling the previous bet and will continue to bet until you’re out of chips or someone else raises you. You can also choose to “check” and pass your turn. If you decide to check, your opponent will not bet against you and will simply wait for another player to act before making a bet.