The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game where players compete to make the best possible hand. It is one of the most popular gambling games in the world, with hundreds of different variants.

Rules and strategy

The basic rules of poker are fairly simple: Each player receives two cards, called “pocket cards,” which they must keep secret from the other players. Then, each player must bet a small amount into a central pot of money. The player with the highest hand wins the pot.

Betting rounds

After the initial deal, each player makes bets and raises until someone folds or calls (matches) their bet. If nobody calls, the betting round ends and the hand is finished.

An ante, sometimes called an “ante-in,” is a small bet that all players must contribute before the first hand begins. This bet gives the pot a value right off the bat, and it serves as a way to keep the money in the pot relatively small.

Bets and raises

A bet or raise is made by adding to the total amount already in the pot by a previous player. In some games, a player may also call a bet or raise by placing the number of chips required to call that player’s bet or raise into the pot.

The ante, an early bet, is a key element of Texas Hold’Em, the most common type of poker. The ante is typically a small bet, such as a nickel.