The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players try to form the best possible hand. The best hand wins the pot, which is the aggregate of all bets placed by all players in a given round of play.

Rules vary by variant of the game, but a common approach is to deal cards one at a time, in turn, with a betting round between each hand. The first player to act is the dealer, who may shuffle the deck before he deals cards to the other players.

The players in a poker game are dealt cards face up, starting with the player to their left. They are required to put a certain number of chips in the pot before they can call, raise, or drop their hand.

Depending on the rules of the game, these bets are called antes or blinds and come in various forms: tiny ones, one-fifth or one-tenth the size of the pot; larger ones two or three times the size of the pot.

A poker table is usually set up with a standard 52-card pack, sometimes with jokers added. The dealer deals the cards in rotation to the left, one at a time, and passes them on to the next player in turn.

The game is played until the last player to act has called, raised, or dropped their hand. The hand with the highest card wins the pot. If there is a tie among the hands, the prize is split evenly.