How to Play Poker


Poker is a card game in which players place bets (representing money) into a central pot before revealing their cards. Players may also bluff, telling other players they have a superior hand when they do not. A poker hand consists of five cards and its value is in inverse proportion to its mathematical frequency; therefore the rarer the hand, the higher it ranks.

A standard 53-card pack contains one joker, which counts as a wild card in some games but is not considered part of the rank of any other card. Two identical hands tie and share any winnings; however, certain combinations of cards have special ranking (such as a royal flush: an ace, king, queen, and jack of the same suit).

To begin the game, each player must make forced bets, usually an ante or blind bet. The dealer then shuffles the deck and the player clockwise to them cuts it. The dealer deals each player one card face down and one card face up; after a betting interval the dealer exposes the hole cards and a showdown takes place.

When it is your turn to act, you can say “call” to match the amount of money the person to your right has raised and then put your chips or cash into the pot. You can also say, “I raise” to increase the amount you’re betting. Watch other players to pick up on their tells – if they hold their hands over their mouth, for example, they may be trying to conceal a smile or indicate that they have a strong hand.