The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game of chance and skill that is played with cards and chips. It is a highly popular card game, with numerous variants. The basic goal of the game is to have the best five-card hand at the end of a series of betting intervals.

The cards are dealt facedown to each player, and the deal is interrupted for a betting interval. During the betting interval, players may bet or raise (called “call”), fold (“fold”), or call-raise (also called a re-raise”).

Betting in poker is done by placing chips in a central pot. A player must place at least as many chips in the pot as has been put into it by a preceding player before he can drop out of the betting and no longer compete for the pot.

Generally, a high straight beats a lower one in most games. A wraparound straight, in which the first card starts high and then finishes low or vice versa, doesn’t count as a straight.

Ties in poker break when two or more hands are identical, card for card. A tie is broken by the next highest unmatched card or secondary pair, if any.

In some versions of poker, the rank of cards is determined by their odds rather than by their mathematical frequency. For example, a 6-4-3-2-A beats a pair of aces and a 7-5-4-3-2 beats a straight flush in most games.

Almost all poker games involve some degree of strategy and are played with fixed-limit betting limits. These limits ensure that the overall expected value of each hand is not significantly affected by a player’s bet or raise.