The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game where players compete to create the best possible hand using their own cards and the cards on the table. The player who makes the best combination wins the pot.


To begin a game, the dealer deals two facedown cards to each player. Each player may choose to fold (drop out of the hand), call, or raise a bet to continue betting.

The dealer then burns a card from the top of the deck and deals three community cards, known as the flop, to the table. The player to the left of the big blind is the first to act in this round, either by folding, calling the big blind, or raising.

A poker hand comprises five cards, which can be made up of two or more pocket cards and three community cards. The highest standard poker hand is five of a kind, which beats any straight flush; other hands include high card, pair of cards, two pairs, three of a kind, and a straight or flush.

Ties are broken by the highest unmatched cards or secondary pairs, such as a full house [five-card hand comprised of three of a kind and a pair]. The ranks of poker hands are determined by their odds, and each rank is broken by the highest unmatched or paired card.


In most poker games, a bettor can “bluff” another bettor by making an initial bet and then calling if no other players match the first bet. If the first bettor calls, then the bluff is successful; if no bettor calls, then all players fold.