The Basics of Poker


A game of poker is a card game played by two or more people. The object is to win the pot, which is the total amount of money bet in a single deal. The amount of money bet is determined by the decisions made by the players, who act based on probability, psychology, and game theory. The decisions may involve bluffing, which involves using the other player’s reactions to your actions to make them believe that you have a stronger hand than you really do.

Before the cards are dealt, a small sum of money (called the ante) must be placed into the pot by all players. When it is your turn to place a bet, you can say “call” if you want to put the same number of chips into the pot as the person before you or raise, which means that you are adding more than the previous player did. You can also fold, which means that you discard your cards and withdraw from the betting pool.

In straight poker, each player receives five cards. The dealer deals one round of betting to each player, beginning with the player to his left. After the betting interval, the cards are shown and a showdown ensues. In the 1850s, this version was eclipsed by draw poker, which allows each active player, in turn beginning with the dealer’s left, to discard some or all of his original cards and draw replacements from an undealt portion of the pack.