The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game with an ancient history that spans continents and cultures. It is a game of chance, but one that also requires a great deal of skill and psychology.

Players buy in to the game by contributing chips that represent their stake in the pot. The dealer usually does the shuffling and betting, but each player has a turn to bet in their own way. They may “call” (match) a previous bet, raise the amount of the call, or drop out of the hand by leaving a few low-denomination chips in the pot.

The cards are dealt in intervals with a betting period between each deal. If a player has the highest-ranking hand at the end of the last betting interval, they win the pot.

A pair consists of two matching cards of the same rank. A straight consists of five consecutive cards of the same suit. A full house consists of three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another rank. A flush consists of five cards in sequence but of different ranks.

The high card wins a tie, except when it is the only card of a particular rank, in which case it breaks following the rules for the High Card. A four of a kind is simply four cards of the same rank; if more than one hand qualifies, the higher-ranking hand wins (Five Aces beats four Kings). A high flush is a four of a kind and a straight.