The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game of chance and skill that can be played by two to 14 players. The object of the game is to win the pot (the aggregate amount of bets made during one hand). The winner of a poker hand is determined by the highest ranking hand at the end of the hand. While most of the game involves chance, bluffing and other strategic elements can greatly improve a player’s chances of winning.

Players ante a small sum of money (the amount varies by game and can be as little as a dime) to get dealt cards. Once everyone has a set of cards they start betting. Betting goes around the table in clockwise order. When it comes to your turn, you can fold, call or raise. If you raise, you must either match or beat the previous bet. The last player to raise the bet wins the pot.

After the initial round of betting the dealer deals three cards face up that everyone can see. These are called community cards and can be used by anyone to make a poker hand. There is a second round of betting and then a final betting round on the river (the last card dealt).

The highest poker hand is the royal flush, which consists of five consecutive cards of the same suit. Other high poker hands include four of a kind, which is four distinct cards of the same rank. If more than one hand has four of a kind, the higher rank wins (five aces beats five kings). Ties are broken by looking at the high card.