How to Play Poker


Poker is a card game in which players wager money, or chips, on the outcome of a hand. It is a game of incomplete information, since the players do not know the cards of their opponents. This makes it a game of chance, but skillful players can use their knowledge of the odds to win.

A standard poker hand consists of five cards. The higher the rank of a hand, the more likely it is to beat the other hands. Each card has a value in inverse proportion to its mathematical frequency; for example, a four of a kind is more valuable than three of a kind. If two hands have identical cards of equal rank, they tie and the prize, if any, is split evenly.

The first step in playing poker is to place a bet, called an ante, into the pot. The player to the left of the dealer places the bet and then deals the cards. The next player may choose to discard one to three of the cards and draw replacements, or “hold” their cards.

Then the dealer reveals the 5 community cards. This is the “flop.” A new round of betting begins, with players raising their bets if they have a good hand and folding if they don’t. The player with the best 5-card hand wins the pot. The ante is then placed again for the next deal. The dealer may also shuffle the cards after each round of betting, and the turn to bet will pass from player to player in clockwise order.