The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players bet on the outcome of a hand. It is played in a variety of ways, in casinos and private homes and over the Internet. It is often considered the national card game of the United States, and its rules, play and jargon are widely known in that country.

The game is played with chips of different values, with each player starting with a fixed number of white chips. Each chip is worth one ante or bet amount, depending on the game. Some games have wild cards that substitute for other cards in a hand. Generally, the game is best for two to seven players.

Once the players have their two hole cards, there is a round of betting. This is triggered by mandatory bets called blinds put into the pot by the 2 players to the left of the dealer.

After the betting interval, 5 community cards are dealt face up in three stages: a series of three cards referred to as the flop, then another single card called the turn, and finally a final single card called the river. The highest five-card hand wins the pot.

The rank of a poker hand is determined by its relative strength in relation to other hands, not its numerical value or suit. For example, a full house contains 3 matching cards of the same rank and 2 matching cards of another rank, while a flush contains any five cards in sequence but from more than one suit. If the highest five-card pair is tied, then the winner is decided by the ranking of the other card in the pair.