The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players place chips (representing money, for which poker is almost always played) into a pot based on the strength of their hands. A player may bet either to force weaker hands to fold or to make a good-looking hand more valuable by raising.

A poker game can be played with any number of players. Typically, each player receives two cards and places a bet in one betting interval after the dealer has dealt them their cards. The object is to win the pot, which is the sum of all bets made in a particular deal. This can be accomplished by having the best poker hand or by making a bet that no other player calls.

The game begins with the dealer dealing a single pack of 52 cards. In some games, however, two packs of contrasting colors are used to speed up the deal. The previous dealer assembles the cards from the pack he dealt, shuffles them, and then passes the shuffled deck to the next dealer.

During each betting interval, one player has the privilege or obligation to make the first bet. After each player has placed a bet, the dealer then reveals the fifth and final community card, known as the river. Then, the remaining players reveal their cards and decide which is the best hand. Ties are broken by the rank of the highest pair. If no pair exists, then the high card is used to break the tie.