The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players make wagers on the outcome of their hands. It is played in casinos, at home, and on the Internet.

A 52-card pack of cards, sometimes with the addition of one or two jokers, is used. In some variations, two packs of contrasting colors are used to speed up the game.

The dealer deals a certain number of cards to each player, beginning with the player on the left. The deal proceeds clockwise until all the players have had a chance to bet or fold.

Each betting interval, or round, begins when a player bets one or more chips in the pot. The players in turn must “call” the bet by putting into the pot the same number of chips; or “raise,” by putting into the pot more than enough chips to call; or “fold,” by putting no chips into the pot and discarding their hand.

A player’s ability to read other players’ hands and respond appropriately is key to success in this game. Often, the best players are those who can read their opponents’ emotions and actions as well as their cards.