Basic Elements of Poker


Poker is a card game played in a casino or online that mixes a high level of skill with the ability to read opponents and predict odds. It is a competitive sport that has been around for decades and continues to attract thousands of players, both amateurs and professionals.

There are several different types of poker games and each has its own rules and procedures. However, there are some basic elements that all poker games share and which you should know before starting to play.

The Rules of the Game

Each player is dealt a hand of five cards. The first three are face-down and the last two are face up. A single round of betting is then held and the player who has the best hand wins.

The Cards

A standard 52-card pack is used, with contrasting colors (for example, black and red) allowing players to see their cards and to compare them against other hands. Some players prefer to use a second contrasting-color pack, known as a “double pack,” for faster action.

The Ante

Before each deal a small amount of money, called the ante, is placed in the pot by all players. The ante can be raised or withdrawn at any time by any player.

The Big Blind

A blind is a pre-dealing bet by the player to the left of the dealer, before the flop. In this way, the player to the left of the dealer has the chance to see their first two cards and decide whether to hit, stay or double up.

The Cards

In most games the lowest possible hand is 7-5-4-3-2 in one or more suits, although in some games the ace may optionally be treated as the lowest card. In addition, if a player has a pair of aces, they may discard their other cards and draw new ones.

The Raise

A raise is a bet made by a player who believes their hand is better than the one currently being dealt. The raiser adds additional chips to the pot by matching the bet of their opponent.

The Call

A call is a bet made by the same amount as the previous bet. In this way, the player can keep playing and remain in the pot.

The Fold

A fold is a bet made by a person who does not wish to continue in the hand. A fold usually means throwing away their cards and being out of the betting until the next round.

The Showdown

In a showdown, each player shows their cards to the rest of the table, and the winner is the one with the highest card. The showdown can be a draw or a stud game, depending on the type of poker in which the hand is played.

The Short-Term Madness

It is important to have fun while you are playing poker. If you get upset or frustrated, you will lose focus on your goal and you’ll probably make bad decisions.