The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game that involves betting and raising bets on the strength of a hand. The game has many variants, some of which are played with a standard 52-card pack and others use fewer cards. The rules of each variation are identical in that they involve one or more betting intervals during which players may call (match) the bet, raise it, or drop. Players may also bluff, in which case they bet that they have a superior hand and win if players with lower hands call the bet.

In a typical Poker game, the players take turns dealing a single card face-up to the left of their opponent. This card is called the button. The player to the left of the button becomes the first dealer. After each deal, the shuffled pack is offered to the player to the right for a cut. If the player refuses, any other player may cut.

After a betting interval has ended, the players show their hands. A winning hand takes the pot. If more than one player is in contention for a pot, there may be side pots.

Before the start of a Poker game, players must place an amount into the pot, which is known as the ante. If a player raises the ante, all other players must either call or fold. A player who bets the entire value of his chips is said to be all-in. Poker players usually play with chips, which are assigned a particular value by the dealer prior to the start of the game.