The Basics of Poker


Generally, poker is played with a 52-card deck. The player with the highest card, or hand, wins the pot. If two players have identical hands, a tie is broken by the best unmatched card or by the highest secondary pair. The pot is divided equally among the players if no cards match.

When the betting interval is complete, the dealer deals a new flop. The card flopped prematurely is referred to as a redealt flop. If a player bets with two pair, the redealt flop can be turned into three of a kind. The card that flopped prematurely is referred to in some games as an ace. The ace may be regarded as the lowest card in the deck.

After the flop, the turn passes to the next player and the bets are placed in front of each player. The final round of betting is called the Showdown. When all but one player have folded, the round is over. The remaining player collects the pot without revealing his hand. The ace is considered to be the lowest card in the deck, but it is not used as a rank.

If the first player makes a bet, he is called the bettor. If the bettor calls, he is said to raise. If the bettor does not call, he is called to fold. When the bettor folds, he has discarded his hand.

The cards are dealt face up, or turned face down. The dealer shuffles the deck, and gives the pack to the opponent for cut. The shuffled deck is then dealt to each player in rotation. If there are more than one player remaining, each player chooses five cards from which to form a hand. If any of the players has the same hand, the ties are broken by the highest unmatched card or by the highest secondary pair.

During the betting phases, each player can bet, fold, re-raise, or re-fold. If a player folds, he can no longer compete for the pot. He can also bluff by betting that he has the best hand. When a bettor raises, he must match the amount of the previous bettor. If the bettor does not match the previous bettor, he is a caller.

The ante is the amount of money that each player must put into the pot before the deal. The ante is usually paid to the player who bets the first time. A player who has made four raises is forced to fold, if he has not enough funds to continue the game. Alternatively, the house rules may allow a player to double his stake after a certain number of raises.

After the first turn, the player with the highest card or the best hand is said to win. The winning hand is usually a straight or flush, but other combinations are possible. A hand of five cards, such as a king-high straight, a king-high flush, or a king-high pair, is sometimes used as the showdown.

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