Poker is a family of card games played with a standard deck of 52 cards. Each player attempts to form the best hand from the combination of their two hole cards and five community cards (the cards dealt face up on three stages). Players may choose to check, call, raise or fold.
The highest hand wins.
Poker has been played across the globe for centuries, from ancient China to modern day America. Poker has been popular among riverboat crews, soldiers in the Civil War and Wild West saloons in frontier settlements.
Several variations of the game have developed, but the basic concept remains the same: Each player seeks to establish the best possible five-card hand. The best hands are more difficult to achieve than the lower ones, and players have a variety of strategies that can help them improve their chances of winning.
The highest possible hand is a royal flush, which is achieved when all five of the player’s hole cards are of the same suit. Other common hands include a straight, four of a kind and a full house.
Each player begins the game with two cards, called the “hole” or “ante” cards. The ante, or forced bet, is used to determine the betting order in each round of play and contributes to the size of the pot.
After the ante has been established, the dealer shuffles and deals the cards to the players in clockwise rotation. The dealer’s right to deal is marked by a token called a dealer button, which is rotated clockwise among the players.
Once the initial rounds of play have concluded, all bets are gathered into the center pot. The pot is then distributed among the players, with the highest hand winning.
Depending on the game, players may also be required to place an ante or blind bet before being dealt their first set of cards. The ante is usually equal to the total value of all the chips in the pot; the blind bet is usually a fixed amount of money, typically less than the ante.
Poker is played with a standard deck of 52 cards, but the actual cards used vary slightly from variant to variant. The Ace is generally the most valuable card, followed by King, Queen, Jack and 10, then by nine, eight and seven. There are also four suits (spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs), but no suit is higher than another.
Each poker hand is ranked, starting with the royal flush and working down through the lowest. In most variations of the game, the hands are ranked from best to worst; however, some variants rank hands in ascending order.
The value of each chip is based on color rather than a real-life dollar amount, which is why most tournaments report poker chip counts by prefacing them with T$. For example, a $400 buy-in tournament might offer 40,000 chips, spread across different colors of chips.
A standard set of 300 poker chips would be sufficient for a cash game, but high-value tournaments typically require higher-denomination chips. For instance, a $100 black chip is the equivalent of $125 in cash game chips, while an $8 red chip represents T$25 in a cash game and T$500 in a tournament.