How to Play Poker

Poker is a card game in which players place bets and then form hands from the cards they receive. The object of the game is to win the “pot” – all of the chips that have been bet during the hand. The pot is won either by having the highest ranked hand of cards or by continuing to bet that your hand is the best until all other players drop out of the hand.

The game is played with a standard 52-card pack, although some games use multiple packs or add wild cards. Cards are ranked from high to low: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 3, 4, 2 and 1. Some poker games allow a wild card to take the rank of any other card.

Before the cards are dealt, two mandatory bets called blinds are placed into the pot by the two players to the left of the dealer. These bets are made in order to provide an incentive for players to participate in the game.

Once each player has 2 cards in their hand, a round of betting starts. Players may choose to check (pass on the bet), raise (put more chips into the pot than their opponent’s previous bet) or fold (drop out of the hand).

After the first round of betting, a 3rd card is dealt face up. This is known as the flop. A second round of betting then takes place, again starting with the player to the left of the dealer.

A fourth card is then dealt face up, this is known as the turn. A final round of betting takes place, again beginning with the player to the left of the dealer.

If a player has no matching pairs or straights, their hand is broken and they are out of the game. A player with 5 of a kind wins, this is made up of 3 cards of one rank and 2 of another rank, or 4 of a kind, which are all of the same rank and all four of the same suits. A pair is made up of two cards of the same rank and three other unmatched cards, or 3 of a kind. The highest hand is a Royal Flush. If more than one player has a Royal Flush, the higher ranking hand wins. Otherwise, the highest card in each of the remaining hands determines the winner.