The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played by a minimum of seven players. Typically players buy in for a set number of chips which are then used to make bets and raise or fold their hands. White chips are usually the lowest denomination worth one unit of the ante/bet amount; reds and blues are worth ten or twenty whites, respectively. Each player also has a “button” which they place to indicate they want to be dealt in each hand (in our games it is a white plastic disk). In the absence of a button, the person to the left of the dealer handles shuffling and betting for the hand.

In each poker hand, the highest five cards win. The cards are ranked from high to low as Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9 and 7. A flush is 5 consecutive cards of the same rank, from any suit. A full house is three matching cards of the same rank, and two unmatched cards. A pair is two cards of the same rank, and a single unmatched card.

A hand will only be successful if it can be concealed from other players; this means that you need good bluffing skills. Additionally, it is necessary to understand the ranking of different poker hands; knowing that a flush beats a straight, for instance. This information can be learned through studying charts or by watching experienced players play the game. As with any gambling game, there is a significant element of luck, but in the long run the winners will be those who take actions calculated on the basis of probability and psychology.