The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game that is played by two or more people and involves betting. Each player has a set of cards and the object of the game is to win a pot (a sum of money or chips) by having the best 5-card hand at the end of a betting round. Each player can call, raise, check or fold in order to add money or chips to the pot.

In the first betting phase, players are dealt 2 cards face down and hidden from other players (these are called their hole or pocket cards). There is then a round of betting initiated by mandatory bets (“blinds”) placed into the pot by the two players to the left of the big blind. 3 more cards are then dealt face up at the center of the table, called the flop and are community cards that everyone can use in their hands. A new round of betting begins with the player to the left of the dealer.

The player with the best 5-card hand wins all the money in the pot. If there is a tie among the players, then the money in the pot is shared by those players with the highest-ranking hands. There are a number of ways to play poker and the rules for each variation differ slightly, but the basic principles are universal.