Poker is a card game played with a deck of cards. The object is to be the player with the best hand. Poker may be played with any number of players and varies in the number of cards per round, the amount of money each player contributes to the pot, and the rules for each round. It is usually played with plastic chips or coins, but can also be played with a real poker deck.
In all poker games, a bet is made during each round of play. If the bet is called by a player, he or she is said to raise. This is an action that requires the player to place more chips in the pot than the previous bettor. Players can bet, call, or fold their cards. A player who does not call a bet or folds his or her hand is said to drop.
Each player is dealt a hand of five cards, either face-up or face-down. Cards can be shuffled and reshuffled by a player or a dealer. Before the start of the game, the dealer determines the value of the chips to be used in the game. Chips are generally blue or green. They can be traded for money, and are used in the poker bets. Traditionally, poker has been played with a 52-card deck, although community card and wild card versions are sometimes played.
At the start of each betting interval, a player must make a bet that is at least the minimum ante. Usually, the maximum ante is based on the amount of money in the pot. Alternatively, a player may make a forced bet. Some bets are a blind bet. These bets are placed when a player has no idea what the other players’ hands are.
The player who is the first to make a bet is referred to as the “dealer.” This person has the final right to shuffle and deal. Cards are then distributed to each player clockwise. Usually, the cards are dealt to each player in turn. Occasionally, all players are required to shuffle their own cards, but in some variants, a shuffle is not mandatory.
The player who makes the next bet is referred to as the “raiser.” The player who makes the last bet is the “cautious bettor.” Normally, a player who is not a good bluffer will not make a bet that exceeds the ante. However, a player who is bluffing must be able to meet the bet. During each betting interval, a player’s bet is compared against the previous bettor’s bet. Those who match the bet are called “callers,” those who do not are referred to as “droppers.”
Generally, the lowest hand in standard poker is a pair of aces. Another lowest hand is a straight flush. A hand of five cards, such as a pair of aces, a pair of queens, and a straight flush, is sometimes the only poker hand that can win the pot.