The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game for two or more people in which players use their skills to bet on the value of the cards they hold. It is a source of recreation and livelihood for many around the world.

In most games, each player “buys in” by purchasing a set of poker chips. These chips can be in any number of colors, including red, white, blue and black. The dealer assigns values to the chips prior to the start of the game and exchanges cash from players for appropriately valued chips.

Typically, the white chip is the unit or lowest-valued chip. Other colored chips are assigned values based on the value of the ante or bet.

A complete hand is dealt face-down to each player, and the player with the best hand wins the pot. The hand must have at least five cards, with no more than four of the same suit.

Two cards of matching rank and one card of a different rank A pair of kings wins, but a tie is not possible; the player with the second highest pair also wins; if the pairs are both of equal value, the unmatched fifth card wins.

Three of a kind and the other two cards of a different rank The three of a kind with the highest cards wins A tie is not possible; the player with the highest unmatched fifth card wins.

The optimal play of poker depends on a lot of variables, including the opponent’s range of hands, his reaction to your decisions earlier in the hand and his betting pattern. It can take a lot of discipline and guts to achieve optimal play in every situation.