How to Play Poker


The first step in playing poker is placing an ante, or initial bet. Players then raise or put their chips into the pot. They must match each other’s bets to stay in the game. Players may also forfeit their hand, by betting all of their chips in the pot. The game continues in this fashion until all players fold. Then the best hand is shown, and the winner is declared. But first, let’s define how poker works.

In poker, hands comprise of two distinct pairs of cards plus a fifth card. If no combination is possible, the high card is worth more. If no combination is possible, the second highest card breaks the tie. A pair is two cards of the same rank, and the higher pair wins. A straight is a five-card hand, and it wins when more than one player has a straight. The higher the card in a straight, the higher the hand is valued.

Almost all poker games involve using poker chips. Games of poker typically feature six to eight players. Each player purchases chips to play the game. The lowest value chip is the white chip. The highest-ranking hand, called a “high hand,” wins the pot. Players “buy in” by placing a bet equal to their opponent’s total contribution to the pot. This action is known as “sandbagging,” and it is allowed unless there is a rule against it.