The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played by a number of players against each other. The objective of the game is to form a hand that will be the best possible combination of cards. This can be achieved by betting if others call, or by bluffing if other players do not call.

A complete hand is dealt to each player, face-down; this is followed by a round of betting. The player with the best hand wins the pot.

The ante is a forced bet that all players contribute before the deal begins. This gives the pot a value immediately, and it helps players to bet rather than fold preflop.

An ante may be any amount, often in the form of a single unit or a percentage of the minimum bet. The ante is also sometimes called the blind.

During each betting interval, the first player to make a bet is said to bet; a player who exactly matches that bet is said to call; and a player who bets more than the previous bettor is said to raise.

In some variants, a player is allowed to check, which means that he does not make any further bet. If a player checks, he may not make any further bets until the end of that betting interval or when all other players have checked.