The Basics of Poker


Poker is a popular game of chance in which players bet chips into a central pot to try to win the hand. The player with the best hand wins the pot. The game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards.

Before playing, a player must “ante” an amount of money that varies by game (our games are typically a nickel). The dealer then deals two cards face up to each player. The player with the lowest hand starts the game, and play proceeds clockwise from there until everyone has had a chance to bet or fold.

The player can then choose to “fold” – which means dropping out of the hand without betting – “check” – which means matching the player’s bet – or “raise” – which means adding more money to the pot. If a player’s bet or raise is not called by other players, the player loses the pot.

Rank of hands in poker

In standard poker, the highest possible hand is five of a kind. If there are two or more hands that have five of a kind, the higher one wins.

General rule: When a pair, three of a kind, or four of a kind tie on the rank, the cards outside break ties following the High Card rules.

Understanding ranges is vital to poker strategy!

While new players will try to put their opponents on specific hands, more experienced players will instead go through the entire range of possible hands that their opponent might have. This can be an important skill to learn, because it can help you decide when to bet more aggressively or when to fold.