The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players bet based on the strength of their hand. The highest hand wins the pot.

A standard pack of cards (usually 52) is used in Poker games, and some variants use multiple packs or add a few cards called jokers. The cards are ranked from high to low, and the suit is determined by which rank they belong to: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1.

The highest possible hand is five of a kind, and can be achieved in several ways. A pair of jacks beats a two-pair and three kings beats a straight.

Bluffing is a key feature of Poker, and players often win by bluffing other players into calling their bet or folding when they have the best hand.

Rules and Play

The game begins with a deal of cards, usually face-down or face-up, to each player. After the initial deal, a betting interval may follow, followed by a showdown where players are awarded the pot.

In many variants, cards are dealt in a number of rounds, or streets, between the initial deal and the final showdown. During these rounds, players can discard some or all of their cards and receive replacements from the undealt portion of the deck.

The long-run expectation of the outcome of a hand in poker heavily depends on skill, rather than chance. Our simulations indicate that the effect of chance on a single hand diminishes with the number of hands and then starts to cancel out. Skill predominates after approximately 1,500 hands.