The Basics of Poker

Poker is a game of incomplete information where each player has 2 cards (sometimes called your “hand”) and there are 5 community cards. The aim is to make the best 5-card hand possible using your own two cards and the five community cards without showing them to your opponents. Each time a player bets, the other players can choose to either call his raise (“call”) or fold (drop out). If a player has a good hand then they win the “pot” (all the chips bet so far) and take possession of the community cards.

It was popularized in the USA around the time of the Civil War, where it became a favorite among crews on riverboats transporting goods up and down the Mississippi. It then spread to the west, where it was played in saloons and frontier settlements.

Each player has a fixed amount of money that they can use to bet during the round. The button, which is a small disc on the table, indicates who has to act first each hand. The player to the left of the button must first post the “small blind” and then the player to his left must post the “big blind.” These forced bets are meant to encourage action at the table and prevent players from always folding before their turn.

Players take turns clockwise to reveal their cards, which can include a “flush” (cards of consecutive rank in suits) or a “straight” (5 cards that skip around in rank but are all from the same suit). They may also have a pair (2 matching cards), three of a kind (3 matching cards), or straight (2 cards of the same rank and 3 unmatched cards). Each type of card has a different value.