The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which the player who holds the best hand wins the pot. The game is played in a variety of variations, but it all shares certain essential features.

The game is played by players who share cards, called the board, with a dealer. The cards are dealt clockwise around the table, one at a time.

After the first round of dealing, there are betting intervals, in which each player has a chance to bet or raise the amount of chips they believe to be necessary to win the hand. Once the betting interval is complete, a showdown occurs in which the hole cards are shown.

Betting is the key to poker. In each betting interval, a player makes a bet, and all players to the left of him must call or raise by putting into the pot the same number of chips.

A player may also bluff, which is a technique used to make it appear that they have a superior hand than they actually do. When a player bluffs, other players must bet or call to keep the action going.

Rules vary among variants of poker, but most allow for an ante and betting rounds. The ante is a small amount of money that all players must place before being dealt into the hand.

Once the ante is placed, players are given a card face-up and a second card facedown. This is called a “hole card,” or a “pocket card.”

The player to the left of the dealer deals the cards, and all players in turn must bet. When a player does not make a bet, they are said to drop or fold.