Poker is a card game in which players bet on their hands. The aim is to maximize winnings with good hands and minimize losses with bad ones.
The game is played in hundreds of variations but the basic rules of most Poker variants are relatively simple. Each player must place an initial contribution, called an ante, into the pot.
Deal: The first of a series of betting intervals begins, when each player to the left must either “call” (put into the pot the same number of chips as the previous player to the left) or “raise,” put into the pot more than enough to call; or “drop” (“fold”) by discarding their hand and leaving the pot until the next betting interval.
Play: The betting intervals are repeated until a winner is determined. A winner is awarded the pot, which is the total of all bets placed during a given round of betting.
Bluffing: A key component of Poker is bluffing, the ability to convince other players that you have the best hand without showing your own cards. This skill is the main reason Poker is such a popular game.
Hands: Each player is dealt five cards face-down. During the course of the game, the players can improve their hands by trading their cards for new ones from the top of the deck.
Typically, the highest hand wins the pot, though there are some variations where the lowest hand is awarded the pot instead. Ties are broken by the highest unmatched cards or secondary pairs.