The Basics of Poker


Poker is a family of card games in which players wager over which hand will be the best. The game is popular worldwide, and it has a wide variety of rules.

Poker can be played by two to seven players, although the best games are usually played with five or six people. Each player starts the game by placing an ante in the pot, which is one or more chips that represent money.

The cards are shuffled and dealt face up, one card at a time, to each player in rotation. The player receiving the first jack (J) becomes the dealer.

In each betting interval, a player must make a bet of one or more chips; they can “call” by putting in the same number of chips as the player before them, or “raise,” by putting in more than the player before them put in. Or they can “drop,” by putting no chips in the pot, and discarding their hand.

When the betting is complete, players must show their hands and the player with the best hand wins. There are usually several rounds of betting during the course of a game, and players must minimize losses with bad hands and maximize winnings with good hands.

Besides the cards and chips, the skill that is most important in poker is deciding what to do with each hand. The most common strategies are to call, raise or fold, but a player can also bet before discarding and play after receiving new cards.