Using cards, poker is a game of chance. The player with the best hand wins the pot. The pot is the aggregate of all the bets made by all the players during a single deal. The player with the best hand is called the “active player”. If no one calls, the active player wins the pot.
The best hand is the nut – a hand with five cards of the same suit. This is usually accompanied by a high card to break ties. The joker is also a card worth mentioning. In certain special hands, the joker can count as a fifth card.
A straight is five cards in sequential order. This is not a difficult hand to achieve, although it is a lot less impressive off the deal. A “backdoor flush” can be achieved by hitting certain cards on the turn and river. In some variants of the game, this is achieved with wild cards.
A “high card” is the first of a series of cards that will break ties. A high card is especially impressive when multiple people tie for the best card. A high card is also a good indication of a possible hand. A hand is said to be a straight if it is comprised of a high card and two cards of the same rank.
There are three basic poker structures: fixed limit, no limit, and pot limit. A fixed limit version of the game requires the use of standard betting amounts. No limit poker is played with a maximum wager that is set by the table, while pot limit poker allows players to place bets of any size.
Poker can be played with as few as two or as many as eight players. Generally speaking, the ideal number of players is six or eight. In this case, the ante, which is the small wager required to start the game, is usually $1 or $5.
The first round of betting is typically done clockwise. The dealer then deals cards one at a time to each player. The player who is dealt the highest ranking card is the first dealer. If the dealer has a jack, he will become the first player to act.
The next round of betting starts with the player to the left of the first dealer. The dealer has the last right to shuffle cards. Cards are usually dealt face up, although they can be dealt face down, as in the case of lowball or split-pot poker.
A round of betting is followed by a showdown, or a display of the players’ hands. This is when the best hand is revealed and the winner is crowned. A showdown is only possible in a game that has a “show” or “showdown” at the end. When the showdown occurs, players may choose to fold or raise. A showdown is not possible unless there is a caller in the last round of betting.
The best hand, or the most impressive of all, is the best hand in the show. This is a five-card hand, involving two distinct pairs of cards plus a fifth card, or a “trip.” It is the best hand if it happens to be the jack of diamonds.