The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players place bets into the pot (representing money) before seeing their cards. A player can call the bet, raise it, or fold. The player with the best hand wins the pot. In some variants of poker, players can also bluff.

The game is played from a standard 52-card pack, with some games adding wild cards or other special cards. Each card has a rank, which determines its value. The highest rank is an Ace, followed by a King, Queen, and Jack. In addition to ranks, cards have suits: spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs. The most valuable suit is spades, followed by hearts, diamonds and clubs.

Each hand begins with a forced bet, usually an ante or blind bet. After the antes are placed, the dealer shuffles the deck and deals cards to the players one at a time, beginning with the player to his or her left. The cards are dealt either face-up or face-down, depending on the game.

When it’s your turn to act, you can choose to call (match the amount of the bet made by the player to your right), raise your bet (add more money than the last person), or fold. If you raise, players must “call” if they have the same or higher ranking cards than you. If they have a lower ranking, they must “fold.” This keeps the betting small and prevents weak hands from seeing the flop.