Poker is a family of card games in which players try to make the best possible five-card hand. The highest-ranking hand wins the pot. However, in some variations, the pot may be split between the highest and lowest hand.
The game can be played with as few as two or as many as eight players. A typical set-up for a poker table consists of three betting intervals, a dealer, and a central pot. The first betting interval requires the player making the first bet to make a minimum bet. If the player folds, the other players must match the bet, raising the amount of the original bet.
The earliest known form of poker was 20 cards. A full 52-card English deck was introduced after 1875. In some countries, the standard deck used is shorter. If there are short packs in the game, the rules and the number of cards are adjusted to fit the requirements of the players.
A card is dealt face-up to each player. Each player may discard cards or draw new ones. If the dealer decides to shuffle the cards, all but one player must fold. Normally, the shuffled pack is offered to the opponent for cut.
The player who has the highest hand is said to be the “first bettor.” He is the player who has the privilege of making the first bet. After the first bet, the turn for betting is passed to the left from player to player. When the last bettor makes a bet, the betting period is over. In some variants, the player who bets the most is called a raiser. The bet can be an ante, a blind, or a forced bet.
The highest possible hand is a straight or five of a kind. If no one calls, the player with the highest hand wins the pot. The lowest possible hand is a 7-5-4-3-2 in two or more suits. In some variants, aces may be treated as the lowest card.
In most modern games, there is a forced bet, usually an ante, which the player must make before being able to see his or her cards. This bet is commonly referred to as a blind. If the player raises the bet, he or she is also referred to as a caller. Some variants don’t consider flushes or straights.
In other variants, players can bluff. They can make a bet they have the best hand or raise the bet to their own advantage. For example, in a five-card draw, a player may make a bet that he or she has the best hand and then bluff that he or she has the worst hand. The bluff can be successful in some games, but not in others.
If no one else bets, a showdown occurs. At the showdown, the player with the highest hand is awarded the pot. The other players are ranked according to their hands. If more than one player remains in the hand, the highest-ranking hand wins the pot.