The Basics of Poker
Poker is a card game in which players wager chips (representing money, though this isn’t always the case) on their chance of winning a hand. There are many different forms of the game, but all involve betting on a hand of five cards. Players must ‘ante’ some amount, which varies by game, just to get dealt cards; they then place their bets into the pot in the middle of the table.
Once all the betting has taken place, the highest hand wins the pot. This is usually a pair of distinct cards, but can be any number of hands that include three of a kind, four of a kind, or a straight. A high card breaks ties when more than one hand has a pair, and pairs break ties as well if more than one player has a same rank.
When it’s your turn to bet, you can choose to check, which means you pass on betting; you can call, which means you bet the same as the person who went before you; or you can raise, which means you bet more than the last player. It’s usually better to raise than check, as this will make your opponent less likely to bluff.
In most games, players must use chips to place their bets; this is done because it’s easier than putting out piles of cash for each bet. Each color of chip represents a different dollar value. Most games are played with a standard 52 card deck, although some games add extra cards called jokers or wild cards that can take the rank and suit of any other card in the game.