The Basics of Poker

Poker is a game of skill that involves betting and is widely played in private homes, poker clubs, casinos, and over the Internet. It is played with a deck of cards and chips, with the goal of winning a pot, which is an aggregate of all the bets made during a single hand or series of hands.

The game begins with the dealer passing out a predetermined number of cards to each player, one at a time. The player to the dealer’s left must make a forced bet, usually an ante or blind bet (sometimes both).

Once a bet has been made, the next player in turn must either fold, or check, which is a bet equal to that of the previous player; raise, or call, which is a bet that is more than the previous bet; or drop or fold, which is a bet that does not put any chips into the pot and discards the hand.

High card breaks ties and may break them when two or more players have the same highest card. It also is used to determine whether any players have a pair of the same card.


The first player to act in each round of betting is the player with the highest-ranking poker combination in his faceup cards; if two or more players have the same combinations, the player with the first combination wins. In fixed-limit games the maximum amount of money that a player may bet or raise is limited to the total amount of chips required to call the current bet, which is typically 10 or more.