The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which the object is to win the pot, which is the aggregate amount of all bets placed during a single deal. A player may “call” a bet, raise it, or fold (drop out of the hand). Each hand begins with players putting in an amount of money called an ante. Then cards are dealt to each player. The highest-ranking hand wins the pot.

The game of poker can be played by any number of people, although it is most popular with 6, 7, or 8 players. There are many different types of poker, but the principles of each are very similar.

Each hand has one or more betting intervals, depending on the variant of poker being played. At the beginning of each betting interval, a player designated by the rules of the game makes the first bet by placing chips in the pot equal to or more than the amount raised by the player before him.

The game also includes the use of a deck of cards that are shuffled after each betting interval, and the player to the left of the button does the shuffling and is the dealer for that hand. A special fund, called the kitty, is often used to pay for things like new decks of cards and food and drinks for players. Players typically “cut” (take) one low-denomination chip from the kitty before each deal. Any chips remaining in the kitty at the end of a hand are then divided equally among all the players who remain in the game.