How to Play Poker


Poker is a card game in which players wager money (called chips) against one another. The object of the game is to form a hand that contains five cards and beat the other players’ hands. Poker is played with a standard deck of 52 cards. Unlike some other card games, the value of a poker hand is in inverse proportion to its mathematical frequency; a hand with more rare cards is worth less than a common one. Players may also win by bluffing, betting that they have a superior hand when they do not, and forcing other players to fold their cards.

The game begins with a shuffle and deal of cards, usually in a clockwise direction. After the shuffle and deal, each player makes a forced bet, either an ante or a blind bet. The dealer then reveals the remaining community cards. Players may now decide whether to keep their current hand, or to “fold.” If they choose to fold, they must give up any rights they have in the original pot, and any side pots that might be forming.

When the betting comes around to you, say “raise” if you wish to add to the pot. Otherwise, just say “call” to match the previous bet. It is important to leave your cards in sight – I’ve been guilty of hiding my cards behind my back, and this messes up the flow of play for everybody else. This is considered a cardinal sin in some circles, and a sign that you’re not taking your poker seriously enough!