A Primer Into the Rules of Poker


Poker is a card game that involves a great deal of skill and psychology. The ability to read opponents and make bluffs at the right time are key elements of this fast-paced game. This article is a primer into the rules of poker and will only cover cash games (not tournament play).

A standard pack of 52 cards are used in most forms of poker, although some variants use more or less than a full deck. A card ranked high is an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 7, 6, 4, 3 and 2; while a card ranked low is a 2, 3, 5, 4 or 6. Typical poker hands include one pair with three distinct cards, two pairs with two matching cards, a straight, a flush, and a full house. The highest hand wins. Ties are broken by looking at the highest card in each hand, then the second highest, and so on.

Players place chips, representing money, in the pot during betting intervals. The player to the left of the dealer, called the button or dealer position, has the privilege and/or obligation to place a bet at the beginning of the betting round. Each subsequent player may increase or decrease the amount of money in the pot.

Players usually purchase poker chips, which come in different colors and values. Each color represents a different amount of money, with white chips being worth the minimum ante or bet; red chips representing half of the minimum ante bet; and blue chips being either one third of the minimum bet or 10 times the maximum pot limit bet.