The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players place bets using chips with monetary value. The cards are dealt and the player with the highest-scoring hand wins the pot. While the outcome of any individual hand significantly involves chance, a winning strategy can be derived from careful study of probability and psychology. Players also use bluffing in an attempt to influence the chances of their opponents holding high-scoring hands.

In the standard form of the game, a pack of cards is shuffled and then dealt to each player one at a time, beginning with the player on the left. Each player may then either “call” the bet by putting in the same number of chips as the player before them or raise it. A player who declines to call a bet, or does not have enough chips to raise it, must discard their hand and drop out of the competition for the pot.

Winning hands include the royal flush (aces, kings, queens, and jacks of the same suit); straight flush (five consecutive cards of the same suit); four of a kind (four cards of the same rank); full house (three matching cards of one rank plus two matching cards of another); pair (two cards of the same rank); and high card. Tied hands are decided by the ranking of the highest-ranking card in each. A pair of aces beats any three-card combination, but does not beat two pairs or the high card.