The Basics of Poker


Poker is a betting game of cards played by two or more players. There are many different variations of the game, but most have several essential features. The object of the game is to get the best five-card hand possible by using only the cards in your hand and those on the table.

The game begins with each player placing an ante to the pot, which is a small bet that must be paid before the deal. The dealer then deals a hand of five cards to each player, face down.

Once the ante is placed, each player must take a look at their cards and decide whether to bet. They can choose to fold, call (match their bet), or raise.

Next, the player to the left of the small blind acts first in the first round of betting; this is called the “burn” or “blind.” The small blind may also fold, check, or make a bet.

In the second and subsequent rounds of betting, the first bettor is the player who has the highest-ranking poker combination in his faceup cards; if two or more players have the same combinations, the first one (nearest the dealer’s left) bets.

There are four basic types of hands in poker: high card, pair, flush, and straight. Each type of hand has its own rules. For example, a high card can be any card in your hand that isn’t a pair. In a flush, the cards in your hand must be of the same suit. A straight can be any combination of 5 cards that are in the same order.