The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game that is played by two or more players. Each player puts in a small bet of chips into the pot before they are dealt cards. The highest hand wins the pot. There are many different variants of the game, but the basic rules are the same. There is plenty of luck in the game, but good strategy and bluffing can also make you a winner.

A standard 52 card English pack of playing cards is used with the option of using one or more jokers (wild cards) in some games. The game can be played with from two to fourteen players, although the ideal number is six or seven. Usually one card is dealt to each player, who keeps it hidden from the other players. Each player can choose to call the amount of a previous bet, raise it or drop out.

Typically the dealer changes after each hand and the player to his left is known as the button. The button is passed clockwise after each deal. The holder of the button does the shuffling and cuts the cards before dealing each hand. The card dealer deals each hand in turn, but the last player to act is the person to his left.

Each betting interval starts with a player making a bet, either calling the bet made by the previous player or raising it. The first player to raise the stakes does so by putting a specified number of chips into the pot. A player who calls the raise must put in at least the same amount, or more if they wish to stay in the hand.