The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game of betting in which players place chips (representing money) into a pot before each round. The player with the highest-ranking poker hand wins the pot, but a player may also win by bluffing if players with superior hands fold. The game is played with a minimum of two and up to 14 players, though ideal numbers are 6, 7, or 8. Poker is almost always played with poker chips. Each chip is worth a specific amount, such as one white chip, five red chips, or 10 blue chips. A player must buy in for a predetermined amount of chips before he or she can bet.

At the start of each hand, one or more players make forced bets, which are either an ante or a blind bet. Then the dealer shuffles the cards and deals them to each player in turn, starting with the player to his or her left. The first deal is usually made face up; subsequent deals are made face down if the player chooses. Before each deal, the player on the chair to the right may cut.

In each betting round, a player can call the bet, raise it, or concede. In most poker variants, raising is limited to twice the size of the previous bet, but in some variations a player can raise up to his or her entire stack of chips (an “all-in” bet). The winning player typically collects the pot without revealing his or her hand.