The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players place bets (representing money) into a central pot according to the rules of the specific game. The game can be played by two or more players, and the object is to win the pot by having the highest ranked hand.

A player may call (match) the last bet, raise (increase) the bet, or fold. The game is played in glitzy casinos and seedy dives alike, in private homes and clubs, and over the Internet. It is considered the national card game of the United States, and its play and jargon permeate American culture.

The dealer shuffles the cards, and then deals them to each player in turn. The player to the left of the dealer cuts, and then the dealer deals each remaining player one at a time face up or down (according to the rules of the specific game). When the deal is complete, the first of what may be several betting rounds begins.

You have a pair of kings off the deal, which isn’t great but not bad. Alex ‘checks’ (he doesn’t owe anything to the pot). Charley calls and Dennis raises. Then the cards are revealed and the winner is declared. If hands tie on rank, the high card breaks ties. If the hand is all of the same suit, the full house wins. Otherwise, the flush wins. Ties in the straight and flush also break by the high card rule.