The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players make wagers by placing chips (representing money) into a central pot. Players may also bluff, betting that they have a high hand when they don’t. The player with the highest five-card hand wins.

Each player begins by putting in an ante (a mandatory bet). Then the dealer shuffles the cards, cuts them, and deals each player one card face down. The first of what may be several betting rounds then begins.

When it’s your turn, you can raise your bet by saying “raise.” The other players will then choose whether to call your new bet or fold.

A good poker hand contains at least three matching cards of the same rank, or two matching cards and one unmatched card. A straight is five consecutive cards of the same suit. A full house is three matching cards of the same rank plus two matching cards of another rank. A flush is five cards of the same suit in a sequence, but not in a consecutive order.

In a typical game there are about 10 people at a table. If more than that many are playing, the players can decide to establish a fund called a kitty from which they can draw for new decks of cards and food. When the kitty is empty, any chips remaining in it are distributed equally among those who are still in the game. This is known as the kitty cut.