A Beginner’s Guide to Poker


A card game with a long history, poker has many variants. It is played with a standard deck of 52 cards (although some games use multiple decks or add jokers). The cards have ranks from high to low: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 4, 3 and 2. There are four suits: spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. The highest-ranking hand wins.

The dealer shuffles the cards, then deals each player a number of cards (depending on the specific game). Each player then places an amount of chips into the pot, called a bet. Usually, players bet in increments of one chip. A white chip is worth the minimum ante or bet, and a red one is worth five whites. Depending on the rules, some players may be required to make forced bets, called an ante or blind bet.

Before each betting interval, the dealer reveals the first of the community cards on the table. Then, each player must decide whether to raise, call or fold his or her cards. The player who has the best hand of five cards wins the pot. Players can also bluff by betting that they have a superior hand, forcing other players to call or surrender.

Unless you’re a professional gambler, it’s important to play only with money that you can afford to lose. Beginners should start at the lowest stakes and track their wins and losses to help improve their poker strategy.