The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players wager money on the outcome of a hand. There are many variants of the game, but they all share some basic features. The object of the game is to win the pot, which is the sum of the bets made on a given deal. This may be done by having the highest-ranking poker hand or by betting that you do have a high-ranking poker hand and forcing other players to call your bets.

Two players at a poker table are obligated to place “blinds,” which are forced bets that begin the wagering. These blinds are then exchanged for poker chips of equal value by the dealer. Each player is then dealt two cards. In most poker games the player to the left of the button deals the first card, then the rest of the players in clockwise order take turns betting on their hands.

If you don’t have a good hand, you can say “I check” to indicate that you do not wish to bet any further; however, other players may raise their bets if they wish. In this case, you must either match or raise the new bet or fold your hand.

Poker is typically played with a standard pack of 52 cards, which are shuffled before every deal and offered to the opponent on the right for a cut (unless he says no). Players may also draw replacement cards into their hand during or just after a betting round.