The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players try to make the best five-card hand from the cards they are dealt. It is played in many different variations, but the basic rules are generally the same.

First, a player makes a forced bet called an ante. This is typically a small amount, usually a dollar or more.

After that, the dealer shuffles and deals cards to each player, one at a time. The dealer may deal cards face-up or face-down, depending on the variant of poker being played.

Then, each player in turn must bet the amount of their ante; or call the bet made by a previous bettor by putting into the pot the same number of chips; or raise the bet by putting more than enough chips into the pot to match the previous bettor’s bet.

Once all of the players have bet, or have checked (stayed in without betting), each betting interval ends. The bets are then compared and the last bet is returned to the player who made the previous bet.

In some variants, a player can check (stay in without betting) only if no other player has made a bet before them in that betting interval. If all of the players check, the betting interval ends and the pot is split between the players who remain in the game.

Most poker games involve a series of betting rounds, each with a specified amount of money. After each round, the players’ hands develop in some way, and at the end of each round the bets are gathered into a central pot. The winner of the pot is the player who has the best hand after all betting rounds have been completed.