• Home
  • The Basics of Poker

The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players bet money against each other, using a standard deck of cards. The rules vary according to the variant being played, but a basic set of rules is universal. A player’s skill and luck can determine whether they win or lose. The game can be played socially for pennies or matchsticks, or professionally in casinos and card clubs.

In most cases, a player wins the pot by having the highest-ranking poker hand at the end of one or more betting intervals during a deal. Unlike many other casino games, the ranks of poker hands are determined by their odds (probability) and not by their suit. Ties are broken by the higher-ranking unmatched cards or secondary pairs (in a full house, for example).

Typical poker rules specify that all players must place chips representing their actual money into the pot before they can see their own cards. These chips come in a variety of colors and have assigned values, depending on the game. A white chip is typically worth a minimum ante or bet; a red, black, and blue chip each represent different amounts of money, depending on the game.

Talking while playing poker is considered poor etiquette and can distract players from making good decisions. It can also give away information to opponents. Some tells, such as sniffing or breathing heavily, watery eyes, rapid blinking, and flaring nostrils, are indicative of nervousness or bluffing.