The Basics of Poker


In poker, players place chips (representing money) into a pot whenever they want to make a bet. Each player may call a bet made by any other player, or raise his own. If he raises, he must put into the pot a number of chips equal to or greater than the total amount raised by the player before him. He can also drop out of the hand by saying “fold”; this means that he discards his cards and gives up his rights in the original pot to any player who later calls his bet.

There are many different types of poker games, and the rules vary slightly from one to the next. However, most poker variants require some form of compulsory bet at the beginning of a hand, called an ante or blind. The number of chips each player buys in is determined by the rules of the game, but a typical poker game requires 200 or more poker chips. A white chip is worth the minimum ante, a red chip is worth five whites, and a blue or other dark-colored chip is usually worth 10 or 20 whites.

The best poker hands are made up of five cards. Unlike other card games, poker is a game of strategy as well as chance. Some players try to win poker hands by bluffing. This involves betting that they have a superior hand than they actually do, in the hope that other players will believe them and fold rather than risk taking them on in a showdown. Other players attempt to improve their hands by drawing replacement cards from the community cards on the table.

A player can win a pot by showing a high-ranked poker hand, such as a straight or a flush. However, he can also lose the pot by showing a low-ranked poker hand, such as a pair or a three of a kind. In most cases, the highest-ranked poker hand wins the pot.

Occasionally, a player will bet so much that no other players will call his bet. This is called a river bet, and the person who calls it will win the pot. However, if no player calls the river bet, then it is the flop that determines the winner of the pot.

In some poker games, players may establish a special fund to pay for the cost of additional decks of cards and other necessities, known as the kitty. This fund is built by dividing one low-denomination chip from each pot in which there is more than one raise. When the game ends, any chips remaining in the kitty are returned to the players who contributed them.

After the first round of betting is complete the dealer deals three more cards face-up on the board that anyone can use. This is called the flop. During the flop betting round everyone gets another opportunity to bet, raise or fold their hands. Once the flop betting is complete, the dealer puts a fifth card on the board that everyone can use for the final betting round, which is called the river.