The Basics of Poker

Poker is played for money or chips contributed by the players themselves (called a pot). Individuals compete to control the amount of money in the pot by controlling what they do and don’t do with their cards. Minimizing losses with poor hands and maximizing winnings with good hands is the primary skill of Poker. The game also involves bluffing.

Poker games generally use a standard pack of 52 cards. Some variations include additional cards or jokers as wild cards. The cards are ranked from highest to lowest as follows: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Most Poker games require players to contribute one or more chips to the pot prior to dealing each hand. This contribution is known as the ante. A dealer has the right to ask a player to ante more than another player, but may not require a minimum ante. Some games also have a special fund called the “kitty,” in which each player contributes a low-denomination chip. The kitty is used to pay for new decks of cards or other expenses associated with the game. The kitty is usually divided equally among players who remain in the game when it ends.

In games where a player is all-in, exposed cards must be dealt with immediately. This rule is a matter of policy, not a specific game rule. However, exposed cards should not be shown to any other player during the action and may not be thrown high in stud or tossed at other players (“helicoptered”). Players, dealers, and the floor are entitled to a reasonable estimation of opponents’ chip counts; thus, chips should be kept in countable stacks.