The Basics of Poker


A card game of strategy and chance, poker requires players to make bets that depend on the strength of their hands. The stronger the hand, the higher the bet. Players can also bluff and win by raising the bets of players who have inferior hands. The person with the highest hand wins the pot (amount of money bet by all the players that haven’t folded).

A standard pack of 52 cards is used in poker; some games include jokers or other special cards. The rank of a card is its numerical value, while suits are represented by hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs. The Ace is a high card; a flush is a series of five consecutive cards of the same suit; a straight is 5 cards in sequence but from more than one suit. A pair consists of two distinct cards; the highest pair wins ties. Some games award the pot to the lowest-ranked hand; these are usually low-stakes.

Players must ante something (amount varies by game; ours is a nickel) to get their hands dealt; the player to the left of the button (named for the position of the dealer) must post the small blind and the player to the right must post the big blind. Then each player can raise, call or fold. The player with the highest hand takes only his or her winnings, while the rest of the players divide the remaining stakes among themselves.

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