Basics of Poker


Poker is a popular card game, based on chance. It has many different variants, but the basic rules remain the same.

A poker player’s goal is to make the best hand possible by using his cards and betting correctly. He must be able to determine the relative strength of his hand, compare it to that of his opponents, and decide whether to make a call or raise.

The game is played with a standard 52-card deck of cards, usually with two or more jokers/wild cards added to the deck. Wild cards are a useful addition to the hand because they can supplement or represent any other card in a hand.

In standard poker, a hand is valued at its highest single card. If there is a tie, the player with the higher card wins.

Pairs are formed by combining two cards of the same rank. When more than one player has pairs, the winner is the player who has the highest pair.

Straights are a series of five cards, with no ties. When two hands have straights, the straight of the highest card wins.

Depending on the variant, there may be several betting rounds between the initial deal and the final showdown. Each round begins when a player in turn makes a bet. The players to the left must then “call” that bet by putting into the pot the same number of chips; or “raise,” which means they put in more than enough chips to call; or “drop” (“fold”), which puts no chips into the pot and discards their hand, which prevents them from competing for the pot.