The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game of skill, chance and risk taking. Players place bets against one another in order to win the pot, which is the total sum of all bets placed during a hand. The player with the best poker hand wins the pot, although bluffing can also be very effective. The game can be played by two to 14 players, although most games are played with six or seven players.

Each round of poker begins with the dealer shuffling and dealing cards to each player. The player to the left of the dealer is known as the button, and a button chip is passed around the table to designate who will deal the next round. Sometimes, a non-player is assigned dealer responsibilities for the entire tournament.

After the deal, each player must reveal his or her cards to the other players at the table. Then the first of several betting rounds begins. Each player may be forced to make an ante or blind bet, which is usually made before being dealt cards.

A poker hand consists of five cards. Its value is in inverse proportion to its mathematical frequency; thus, high cards have more value than low ones. A player can bet that he has the best poker hand, and other players must call the bet or fold. In some games, a player can replace his or her cards by drawing additional cards from the top of the deck.