Poker is a family of card games in which players wager over which hand is the best according to that specific game’s rules. The games vary in the number of cards used, deck configuration, and the number shared by all players, but all have rules that involve one or more rounds of betting.

The Basics

Each player begins the game by “buying in” to the pot by purchasing a fixed number of chips. The chips are typically white or light colored and are worth the minimum ante, which is determined by the dealer. Red or dark-colored chips are usually worth more than the minimum ante, depending on their value.

The First Deal and Bets

At the beginning of each Poker deal, a number of cards are dealt to the table. The cards are dealt in rotation, and the dealer has the last right to shuffle.

Betting Intervals

In each of the betting intervals, players are required to bet, call or raise. A player may also “check,” which is to stay in the game without making a bet, provided that no other player has made a bet in that betting interval.

The Showdown

After each betting interval, a showdown occurs when each remaining player shows his or her hand on the table. The player with the highest-ranking hand wins the pot.


Since the game is a competitive skill game, players must take into account a range of strategic decisions before placing their bets. Some of these decisions are based on probability, psychology and game theory.