The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players place bets on the outcome of a hand. It is played in many casinos, and is also popular in home games. It has been called the national card game of the United States, and its play and jargon permeate American culture. The game consists of betting rounds, with each player having the option to call (match) the bet, raise it, or fold. It is a skill-based game that requires strategic thinking and good knowledge of probabilities.

The game is normally played by a group of people around a table. Before the game begins, one or more players must put money into the pot, known as an ante. The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals them to each player in turn, starting with the person on their right. The first deal is always face up. Once the deck is shuffled and dealt, the players bet in the first of several betting rounds.

In the original version of poker, which is called straight poker, each player is dealt five cards and there is one betting round. This was eclipsed in the 1850s by draw poker, which allows each active player to discard some or all of their original cards and take replacements from the undealt portion of the deck. In some variants, the players can also bluff. A standard poker hand is a pair of 10s or higher, four of the same suit, three of a kind, or a royal flush.