The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which the twin elements of chance and skill are combined. Players win chips by betting against other players without showing their hands. This requires the ability to read opponents and the use of psychology – for example bluffing. Over time, the application of skill should virtually eliminate the element of chance in a game.

The game is played in rounds, with a bet made by each player in turn. The object of the game is to get as many chips into the pot as possible with your hand before the last round, called the river – when all cards are revealed. The player with the best five-card poker hand wins the pot.

Each player starts with two cards face up and has the option to raise or call a bet in a given round. Each player is free to make as many raises as they want but can only bet up to the amount of chips that are in the pot at that moment (known as the cap). If a player calls a bet, they must also match the raiser’s bet to remain in the round.

If a player does not wish to bet, they can ‘Check’. The turn to bet passes clockwise after each player checks. The highest poker hand is the straight or flush – a three-of-a-kind. In the case of a tie, the high card breaks the tie. Players can also try to improve their hand by making a pair.