The Basics of Poker

Poker is a family of card games played with a standard deck of 52 cards. It is played around the world, with variations in deck configuration, number of cards in play, and rules that involve one or more rounds of betting.

Poker consists of several elements that make it distinct from other card games:


A small initial contribution, called an “ante,” is made by each player to start the game. This is usually a fixed amount, such as $1 or $5, and is decided by the table.


The dealer, also known as the “dealer,” deals each player a hand of cards face-down. Each hand can be seen, and players must then choose whether to bet on it.

Betting Intervals:

A betting interval, or round, begins when a player, in turn, makes a bet of some number of chips into the pot. Afterward, other players must either “call” the bet by putting into the pot as many chips as the previous player did; or “raise,” which is to add to the bet more than the previous player called; or “drop,” which is to put no chips into the pot and discard the hand.

Rank of hands:

The highest hand is a full house, or three cards of one rank and two of another. Other combinations include a flush (five cards in the same suit), a straight (five cards in sequence), and a pair of aces or more.