The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players compete for the highest hand. The winning hand is the one with the best five-card combination. There are a number of different poker games, but they all share a few key features.

First, the cards are dealt face down. Each player gets one card face down and one card face up. The deal is interrupted for a betting interval and then resumed with three rounds of dealing, each round distributing one card face up to each active player. After each round, there is a showdown in which the hole cards are shown to the players and the winner is determined.

Second, a bet or raise may be made by no more than the total amount in the pot. A raise may be made by first putting in the amount of money necessary to call the previous bet, or by a specific number of chips more than the current amount in the pot.

Third, a bet or raise may be rejected by a player, or he may fold his hand. A fold is generally considered a bluff, since it implies that the player holding the hand does not think it is the best possible hand.

Fourth, a bet or raise may be called by the player who made it. A call is considered a better play than a raise because it allows the opponent to see his hand before making a decision.

It is also important to remember that the best hands in poker are often concealed by the flop. For example, if you have pocket fives and the flop comes A-8-5, people will have a hard time putting you on that exact hand.