The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game where a player bets based on the strength of his or her hand. It is a game of chance, but over time skill can virtually eliminate luck. While there are many different types of poker, the basic rules of the game are similar in all of them.

Before a hand is dealt, each player must put money into the pot, called an ante or blind bet. This money is usually in the form of chips, with a white chip being worth one bet; a red chip being worth five, and a blue chip being worth 10 or more. Some players also place an additional amount of money in the pot if they think they have a good chance of winning the hand.

Each player receives two private hole cards as their starting hands. There is then a round of betting, starting with the person to the left of the dealer. Each player can choose to fold (sliding their cards away and taking no part in the hand), call (match the highest bet and go to the next round) or raise (put more money in than the previous high bet).

After a round of betting, three more community cards are dealt face up on the table. This is known as the flop. There is another round of betting, and if any players remain in the hand, then one more card is dealt face up on the river – this is called the turn. Players then reveal their final hand, and whoever has the strongest 5 card poker hand wins the pot.

To make a bet, the player must tap the table with his or her poker chip. It is customary to say “call” or “raise,” which means to place your chips into the pot in order of their value. A player can also simply say “check,” which means to check the bet and not raise or call it.

A player can make a maximum of three bets in a row. A player must either call or raise the last bet to stay in the hand. If a player calls the last bet, but doesn’t have enough chips to raise it, he or she is called out of the pot.

If a player has the best poker hand, then he or she wins the pot. The pot is the total amount of all bets made during that round. Typically, the winning hand is a full house (three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another rank). A flush is 5 consecutive cards of the same suit; straight is 5 cards that skip around in rank but are from the same suit; and 3 of a kind is three identical cards of a single rank.

Sometimes, players establish a fund called the kitty to pay for food and drinks. Any remaining chips in the kitty when the game ends are divided equally among the players who are still playing.