A Beginner’s Guide to Poker

Poker is a card game where players make bets to try to win the pot. It combines the skills of reading opponents and predicting odds, while also requiring good bluffing skills.

How to Play

In a typical poker game, the dealer shuffles the cards and deals them face-up to each player one at a time. There are usually several betting rounds between the initial deal and the showdown, when all hands are revealed and the highest hand wins.


The rules of most poker variants are similar. A standard hand consists of five cards, which are ranked in an inverse proportion to their mathematical frequency (probability): low card, high card, three of a kind, pair, and flush or straight. A hand that contains a wild card (a card with no rank) may also be valid, and ties are broken by the best unmatched hand or secondary pairs.

Betting Rounds

Each player takes turns putting money into the pot in clockwise rotation. If no money has been raised since the last player’s turn, that player can “check.”

Call: Saying “call” or “I call” means making a bet equal to the amount of the last bet or raise. You can then place your chips in the middle of the table or cash them out if you choose to.

A player who is betting first in a betting round is called the “first player.” In some variations of poker, this player must post a special bet, known as a blind. When this bet is made, it opens the first betting round; other players must then call or raise the blind bet.