The Basics of Poker



Poker is a card game played between two or more players. The object of the game is to win a central pot (all bets made during a single round) by having the highest-ranking poker hand according to the specific rules of the variant being played.

When dealing cards, each player must first make forced bets, usually an ante and a blind bet. A token known as a button is then rotated clockwise among the players to indicate a nominal dealer, who then deals one card at a time to each player. The cards may be dealt face up or face down, depending on the variant of poker.

A standard poker hand consists of five cards and includes a pair, three of a kind, straight, four of a kind, or flush. If a pair or higher is formed, the highest one wins; otherwise, ties are broken in the following order:

Some hands can be bluffed. If a player’s tells are evident (such as breathing shallowly, flaring nostrils, sweating, blinking rapidly, holding a hand over their mouth, or shaking hands), they can be guessed to be bluffing.

After the betting round, a showdown takes place, in which each player reveals their cards and evaluates their hands. Generally, the player with the highest poker hand wins the pot. However, in some games there are side pots in addition to the main pot. These side pots can be won by a player with a high hand, or by betting into the hand of another player who is bluffing.