The Basics of Poker


A game of incomplete information where players have “chips” to bet with. Each player is dealt two cards (the “hand”) and then aims to make the best five card hand using these cards, plus the community cards, by betting on it.

The highest hand is a royal flush, four matching cards of one rank in a suit, and the next highest is a straight, 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. Players can also win the pot by bluffing, with success largely determined by a combination of chance and strategic action on the basis of probability, psychology, and game theory.

When a player’s turn to bet comes around, they must either call the previous player’s stake or raise it. If they cannot meet the last raise, they must fold their hand.

This is known as being in the hole.

After the community cards are revealed, there is a final betting round. The player with the best poker hand wins all the money in the pot, but sometimes a player’s hand can tie, in which case the players who had the same 5 card hand split the pot. Then a new round with antes and blinds begins. In some games the players reveal their hands and continue playing until one player is out of chips, and the game is over. Other games use a fixed amount of money that is placed into the pot for each hand. This is often called the buy-in.

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