The Basics of Poker
Basically, a poker game involves betting over a hand of cards. The player with the highest ranking hand takes the pot. The player with the lowest hand loses the pot.
The standard deck of poker cards has 52 cards, ranked Ace to King, Queen to Jack. Some poker variants use multiple packs, sometimes adding jokers. A straight flush is a five card hand that contains all cards in the same suit. Other variants award the pot to the lowest hand.
A pair of aces is the lowest hand. A pair of kings is a good off-the-deal hand, but it’s not great.
When two four of a kind have the same rank, the high card breaks ties. If nobody has a pair, the high card is the first to break the tie.
Poker is played with any number of players. Usually, each player receives one card, face up, at a time. The player to the left of the big blind is the first to act.
Players can discard cards up to three times during a hand. Some games use wild cards, which can be used to create the highest possible hand.
The earliest known form of poker was played with a 20 card deck. It’s possible the game originated in Persia, but it’s more likely it originated in Europe. The game made its way to the New World via French settlers.
Poker was introduced in the United States during the American Civil War, and there have been many additions and changes over time. The game has grown to be a popular spectator sport, with broadcasts of poker tournaments drawing huge audiences to cable and satellite distributors.