The Basics of Poker

Poker is a family of card games in which players wager over which hand is best according to that specific game’s rules. The game is popular worldwide and is played in private homes, at poker clubs, and in casinos.

In a typical game of poker, each player receives two cards face down and three cards face up, one in front of the player to his left and one in front of the player to his right. Depending on the game, players may also be required to place an initial amount of money into the pot before they are dealt their cards (called forced bets), usually in the form of an ante or a blind bet.

The first betting round begins with the dealer “burning” one card from the top of the deck (dealing it facedown to the table), then dealing the first three community cards (the flop). Next, the small blind (or the player to his left still in the hand) acts first in this and every succeeding round by folding, checking, or making a bet.

Rake: The amount of money that a casino charges players for running the game, usually a small percentage of the total pot each hand. Some casinos offer rakeback, which reduces the rake that the players pay to the casino.

Tournament: A poker format in which players play for a fixed buy-in and continue playing until they are eliminated from the competition or run out of chips. In most tournaments, the winner is determined by who has the highest score at the end of the final betting round.