Poker is a type of card game in which players bet on the value of the card combination (”hand”) in their possession, by placing a bet into a central pot. The winner is the one who holds the hand with the highest value according to an established hand rankings hierarchy, or otherwise the player who remains in the hand after all others have folded (the player who makes an un-called bet).
As with all modes of gambling, an amateur generally starts out by putting in a small amount, but with every win he becomes more confident, and every loss thereafter merely eggs him on to throw in even more cash.
The game of poker is one of the most popular card games. And this is evident not just in the number of casinos that have sprung up, or in the number of people that play the game, or even in the number of movies that have poker game scenes.
Poker has many variations, all following a similar pattern of play and using the same hand ranking hierarchy – “Straight”, Stud, Draw, Community.
“Straight” – A complete hand is dealt to each player, and players bet in one round, with raising and re-raising allowed. This is the oldest poker family; the root of the game as currently played was a game known as Primero, which evolved into the game Three-card brag.
Draw poker: Players each receive five — as in five-card draw — or more cards, all of which are hidden. They can then replace one or more of these cards a certain number of times.
Stud poker: Cards are dealt in a prearranged combination of face-down and face-up rounds or “streets”, with a round of betting following each. Players receive cards one at a time, some being displayed to other players at the table. The key difference between stud and ‘draw’ poker is that players are not allowed to discard or replace any cards.
Community card poker: A variation of Stud, players combine individually dealt cards with a number of “community cards” dealt face up and shared by all players. Each player will attempt to make the best five card poker hand using the community cards and their own face down cards. Texas hold-em and Omaha are two well-known variants of the Community family.
In casual play, the right to deal a hand typically rotates among the players and is marked by a token called a ‘dealer’ button. In a casino, a house dealer handles the cards for each hand, but the button is rotated clockwise among the players to indicate a nominal dealer to determine the order of betting.
One or more players are usually required to make forced bets, usually either an ante or a blind bet (sometimes both). The dealer shuffles the cards, the player one chair to his right cuts, and the dealer deals the appropriate number of cards to the players one at a time. After the initial deal, the first of what may be several betting rounds begins. Between rounds, the players’ hands develop in some way, often by being dealt additional cards or replacing cards previously dealt. At the end of each round, all bets are gathered into the central pot.
At any time during a betting round, if one player bets and no opponents choose to “call” the bet and instead “fold”, the hand ends immediately, the bettor is awarded the pot, no cards are required to be shown, and the next hand begins.
At the end of the last betting round, if more than one player remains, there is a showdown, in which the players reveal their previously hidden cards and evaluate their hands. The player with the best hand according to the poker variant being played wins the pot. A poker hand consists of five cards, but in some variants a player has more than five to choose from.