The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game that dates back to ancient times. The word poker comes from card hustlers, a word used by people to cheat unsuspecting opponents. The word is thought to have been added to the game when the card hustlers wanted to make it more difficult for others to know the slang word. It’s one of the oldest games around and has many variations. Players use a deck of twenty cards to determine who will win a hand.

A hand that has two distinct pairs of cards, plus a high card, wins. A pair without a pair and a straight break a tie. If no pair or better hand is present, the highest card wins. The high card is the exception. Poker players can bet on either of the two pairs. They can also place side bets if they are not sure if their hands are holding up. A pair without a pair of aces breaks a tie.

In almost every poker game, players use poker chips. If there are more than seven players, it is customary for the dealer to supply the chips. The lowest-value chip is called a white chip. The red chip is worth five whites. Each player can use one or four of the five reds in order to make the best hand. Players typically “buy in” by purchasing chips equal to their initial bet. A player who makes a bet before the round begins is called an active player.