Various forms of poker exist throughout the world, but the basic premise remains the same: players use their cards to create the best possible hand. Poker games are played in casinos, private homes, and over the Internet. They can be played with any number of players. The ideal number is 6-8. Poker is the national card game of the United States, and permeates American culture.
To play, each player is dealt a set of cards, one at a time. After each round of dealing, the remaining players may either call, fold, or raise. The aim of the hand is to create the best possible hand, and win the pot by betting until all other players have folded. If a player raises, all other players must match the new bet, otherwise the player who made the original bet is considered the winner.
There are several betting intervals between rounds of dealing. Each player has the opportunity to discard one, two, or five cards. This may improve the player’s hand. When all but one player folds, the betting phase is over.
The flop is the first set of three cards that are dealt face up after the first round of betting. The highest card in the set determines the winner. If there is a tie, the highest unmatched card breaks the tie. The hand with the highest card in the flop, along with the highest card in the rest of the hand, is the best possible hand.
The “river” is the final community card. This last card is not shown to the players until the end of the round. If there is a tie, the two players with the highest unmatched card are declared the winners. The ace may be treated as the lowest card in some games. The ace and king are also linked, and a straight flush may also be a tied hand.
A three of a kind is three cards of the same rank. A straight flush is the best possible hand that begins with the highest card. If two identical poker hands tie, the player with the highest unmatched card wins.
A pair of aces is the lowest pair. If two identical poker hands tie, a player with a pair of aces and a pair of deuces wins. If two identical poker hands tie, ties are broken by secondary pairs. The lowest hand is 7-5-4-3-2 in two or more suits.
The pot is the aggregate of all bets made by all players in one deal. If the hand is a draw, the pot is divided equally among the players. This type of game is known as pot-limit. Most pot-limit games have a maximum bet for each round of betting.
Poker is played with blue or red chips. These chips are usually placed in front of the player. Poker chips are usually used to bluff the players, but they can also be used to make the smallest possible bet.