Poker is a card game that involves a fair amount of luck and skill. Unlike other casino games, it requires an ability to minimize losses with poor hands and maximize winnings with good hands.

The Game

A game of Poker starts with the players placing an ante, or initial contribution, into the pot. Then, a betting interval begins where each player may either “call” that bet by placing the same number of chips in the pot; or “raise” by putting more than enough chips into the pot; or “fold,” or drop out, by putting no chips in the pot and discarding their hand.

Betting Intervals

The betting intervals in a Poker deal are based on the rules of the variant being played. Each betting interval (or round) begins when a player to the left makes a bet in a pot of at least as much money as the player before him. In turn, each player to the left must then either call that bet by putting into the pot the same number of chips; or raise by putting into the pot more than enough chips to call; or fold by putting no chips into the pot and discarding their hand.

Bets are made using plastic or ceramic discs called chips that can be exchanged for cash or money at the end of the game. The chips are counted at the end of each Poker deal to determine the order in which players win.

Optimal Frequencies and Hand Ranges

Poker is played with a standard 52-card deck, sometimes with one or two jokers. The cards are dealt in rotation to the left and the first dealer shuffles, deals, and cuts. When the last dealer deals, the shuffled deck is passed to the next dealer.

The Deal

The dealer deals a pack of cards in rotation to the left, one at a time face up. The dealer may then cut the deck and shuffle it, if the cards are not all in the same suit. The dealer must then offer the shuffled deck to the opponent to the right for a cut, and they may then choose whether or not to cut the cards.

Depending on the rules of the variant being played, a dealer may also be required to make a forced bet before cards are dealt. This bet is called an ante and is usually the same size as a player’s initial contribution to the pot.

In a game of Poker, a complete hand is dealt to each player and bets are made in one round. Raising and re-raising are allowed, and players may also bet on specific hands.


A flush is a hand of five cards, all of the same suit, and is the best natural hand in Poker. The person who has the highest card in that suit wins. A straight is a hand of five consecutive cards, all of the same suit, and can include a pair of kings or higher.