A Beginner’s Guide to Poker


A game of chance and skill, Poker is one of the most popular card games in the world. Players place bets into a pot (or pool) to win the highest-ranking hand at the end of a betting round. Bets are placed based on probability, game theory, and psychology.

There are many different variations of Poker, but all involve cards and chips. Typically, players will bet on their hands, and winning the best five-card hand is the goal. A player may also bluff during a betting round, and the other players can choose whether to call or fold.

Before any cards are dealt, one or more players must make a forced bet—called an ante or blind bet. The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals them to the players one at a time, starting with the player to their left. Players can also add money to the pot by raising a bet, or they can “check,” meaning they pass on their turn to act.

Depending on the game rules, players can replace their own cards with replacements drawn from the community cards. Alternatively, they can draw new cards to improve their own hand.

In some Poker games, a player’s hand is ranked only on the value of the top two cards. In other cases, a player’s entire hand is evaluated—including the suits and colors of their cards—to determine the rank of their hand. In either case, a higher-ranking hand beats a lower-ranking hand.