The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game where the players try to make the best hand using only five cards. The game has a number of variations, but each variant shares certain essential features.

The game begins with each player placing an ante, or buy-in, which is typically a small amount of money. This is used to determine the pot size. Then, each player receives two cards and decides whether to bet or fold.

In a betting interval, the first player to put in a bet must either “call” by putting in the same number of chips or “raise” by putting in more than the previous bettor’s bet. The second player to the left of the first must either “fold” by putting no chips in the pot, or “check” by staying in without betting.

After all players have had a chance to put in a bet, the next betting interval begins. Each player to the left of the last one must call or raise the bet if it is equal to their own. Alternatively, he may choose to drop (or fold) by putting no chips in the pot and letting it be considered a discard. If all players have dropped, the betting interval ends and a showdown occurs. The player with the best hand wins the pot.