The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players place bets of various sizes into a central pot. They can also bluff to try to win the pot with weaker hands. The game is played in casinos, clubs, and private homes. It has become the national card game of the United States, and its play and jargon permeate American culture.

The game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards plus jokers (or other wild cards) in some games. The cards are ranked (high to low) Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1. The highest five-card hand wins the pot. A full house is three matching cards of one rank plus two unmatched cards of another rank; a straight is five consecutive cards that skip around in rank but are all the same suit; and a flush is five consecutive cards from different suits.

In the game, players usually place forced bets before they are dealt their cards. This is called opening. They can then choose to “call” the betting of the player to their right or to raise it, and they can fold at any time.

The first player to open must do so by saying “open.” When betting is completed, the cards are gathered into the central pot, and the best hand takes the pot. If no one has a good hand, the player who raised the most is awarded the pot.