Poker is a gambling game played with cards and chips. It takes skill and strategy to win, but can also be a lot of fun.

The Basics:

There are many variants of poker, but all share certain essential features. In each game, players are dealt five cards. They must then make bets to determine which hand they hold. The player with the best hand wins the pot.

Several betting rounds may be played between the initial deal and showdown, during which time a player’s hand can develop in various ways. For example, the dealer deals additional cards or replaces ones previously dealt to a player, which may allow the player to improve their hand.

In some games, a player can check, or decline to bet. If a player checks, he can lose all of his bets.


Each player is dealt a hand of cards, face-down, and must place an ante to the pot before the dealer deals the cards. After placing the ante, players study their hands and can call or fold to the bets made by other players.

The player with the lowest hand starts first, then the game proceeds clockwise around the table until all players have had a chance to place bets. Once all the players have had a chance to place bets, the dealer shows the cards and the player with the highest hand wins the pot.

The game’s rules vary among casinos, but in general, a house dealer will handle the cards. The dealer button is typically a white plastic disk that rotates clockwise among the players to indicate who holds the right to deal the cards.