The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game played throughout the world. The game has a perfect balance of chance and skill, making it appealing to players at all skill levels.

A player begins the hand with a hole card, which is dealt face-down; this is called his “hole card.” The dealer then deals one card face-up to each active player. This is followed by a betting interval, and then the hand is shown.

Depending on the rules of the particular game, one or more players are required to place an initial amount of money into the pot before the cards are dealt. This is called a forced bet, and it may come in the form of an ante or a blind bet (sometimes both).

After the initial deal, the first of what may be several betting rounds begins; each round consists of betting by all players in turn. At the end of each round, all bets are gathered into a central pot.

A betting round ends when a player folds, checks, or makes a bet. To fold, the player must drop out of the hand, which means he loses any bets he has made in the previous round.

To call is to match the highest bet so far made by a player in the same betting interval; to raise is to increase the highest bet so far made by he same player in the same betting interval. A player may also choose to make change out of the pot by removing an oversized chip for its full equivalent value before placing a bet, or by over-calling by placing a smaller chip and removing the change from his own bet for the round.