The Basics of Poker


In Poker, cards are dealt to players in a clockwise fashion and bets are placed into a central pot. Each player can choose to “call” the previous player’s bet, raise it or fold. The highest hand wins the pot.

The game is played from a standard deck of 52 cards, with some variants adding jokers or other special cards. The cards have ranks of Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10, and suits of spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. No suit is higher than another.

Most games require one or more players to make forced bets before the cards are dealt. The player to the left of the dealer has a small blind, and the player two positions to his or her left has a big blind. The blinds are added to the total bet, or ‘pot,’ and the player with the best hand at the end of the betting round wins the pot.

Each player starts with a five-card poker hand, and the rest of the cards are revealed during the betting rounds. The poker hands are ranked in order of their value, from the highest to the lowest: Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10. A full house contains three cards of one rank and two matching cards of another (such as three eights and two fours); a flush is 5 cards of the same rank in sequence but not in suit; and a straight is five cards of consecutive rank but from different suits.

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