Poker Basics

| August 15, 2011 | Comments (0)

Poker is a class of card games which have similar betting rules and often (though not always) hand rankings. Poker games vary in a number of ways: the manner in which the cards are dealt, the way hands can be made, whether the high or low hand wins the pot in a showdown (sometimes, the pot is divided between the high and low hands), the amount one can bet, and how many times you can bet in one hand.

In the majority of poker games nowadays, the first round of betting starts with some type of mandatory bet by one of the players. In regular poker, every player is betting that his own hand will be the topmost ranked. The play then continues clockwise around the table and each gambler in proper sequence must either match the highest earlier bet or fold, giving up the amount bet thus far and all future interest in the hand. Besides matching a bet, a player can also “raise”, or enlarge the bet. Once all players have either matched the previous bet or have folded, the betting round comes to an end. In any round of the game, if all players except one fold, the one left gets the pot and shows their hand if they choose. After the last betting round, if more than one player is still left in the game, the hands are shown and the player with the best hand wins the pot. Except for the mandatory bets at the start, money is only put into the pot willingly by a player who, at least in concept, logically calculates the bet to bring a favorable result. While there is an element of luck, probability, skill and a player’s countenance are far more significant indicators of who will win.

Since the start of the 20th Century, poker has increased in popularity, and has gone from mainly being a recreational activity enjoyed by a few groups of mostly male enthusiasts to being a hugely popular spectator “sport” with global audiences and multi-million dollar tournament prizes, and the number of female spectators growing rapidly.

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