The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game that requires skill and strategy to win. It is played from a standard deck of 52 cards (some games use multiple packs or jokers).

Poker uses chips to place bets. They are often made of plastic or ceramic, but real money may also be used.

Players deal themselves a hand of five cards, then take turns betting their hands. The best hand wins the pot.

Depending on the rules of the game, each player may be required to make a contribution to the pot, called an ante. This ante can be in the form of a forced bet, such as a blind bet; or an option bet, such as a bring-in bet.

In each betting interval, one player must make the first bet. The player who exactly matches the previous bet is called to “call”. A player who bets more than the previous bettor is called to “raise.”

A betting round ends when all active players have bet an equal amount. In some variants, a player who has not paid the initial amount may still open the round by making a bet; this is called opening the pot or, in variants where blind bets are common, opening the big blind.

At a particular moment in the game, the best possible hand is called the “nuts.” A player who has the nuts will be awarded the pot if they have the highest poker hand at that point. This hand is usually based on holding pocket cards of different suits, but may include trips or a straight.