The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which each player has a hand of cards and competes for a pot. The goal is to win the pot by having the best poker hand or by making a bet that no other player calls.

A deal begins with each player receiving one card face down and one face up. The deal is interrupted for a betting interval, in which players can bet or decline to bet. The betting interval is followed by a showdown, in which the hole cards are shown.

Betting rounds begin with a single player making a bet and each other player to the left must either call that bet, raise it by more than enough chips to call, or drop (called “folding”), which means putting no chips in the pot, discarding their hand, and leaving the game until the next deal.

The highest natural poker hand is a straight flush, which consists of five cards in sequence that are all of the same suit. Other natural hands include two pairs, three of a kind, and four of a kind.

Some games have a minimum bet amount for opening the action; this is usually the amount of the big blind. In most forms of Poker, a re-raise must be at least as much as the previous bet or raise.

Players who have good bluffing skills can force weaker hands to fold. This is a strategy that can be used to increase the size of the pot, but it also has a risk.