The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players bet to win money. It involves skill, patience and sometimes luck.

The game begins with a deal, during which one player (called the dealer) distributes cards face up to all the players, beginning with the player on his left and moving clockwise around the table. A betting interval may follow each round of dealing, during which all players must place their bets in the pot.

A hand is complete when a player can make no more bets or folds without causing the pot to become unbalanced. This is usually achieved by having the best hand possible with a given number of cards, such as a straight or five of a kind.

In most poker variants, there is a minimum amount of money that a player must put into the pot in order to be eligible for play. This is called the ante, and it is typically set at an amount that is based on the stakes of the game.

When a player has more than this amount, he is able to put his entire bet in the pot and call everyone else’s bets. He can also choose to check, in which case no other player may take his bet.

In most games, there are some betting rounds between each round of dealing. Each round begins with a player who is the current bettor placing his bet in front of himself, then everyone else betting behind him. The next bettor then places his bet in front of the first bettor, and so on.