Poker is a card game that may be played by two to 14 players. The object is to win the “pot,” which is the sum total of all bets made by players in any given deal. A player can win the pot by having the highest-ranking poker hand or by betting in a way that no other players call.
To begin a hand, each player must make an ante (a forced bet). The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals them to each player one at a time, beginning with the player to their left. The player to the right of a deal may choose to cut. Once everyone has their cards, the first of many rounds of betting begins. During each round, players may choose to discard their cards and draw new ones, or they may choose to “hold” on to their original hand.
A standard poker hand consists of five cards. Each card has a rank, determined by its mathematical frequency; a higher rank is associated with a rarer combination of cards. If two or more hands have the same rank, they tie and share any winnings equally. Ties are broken by the highest unmatched cards or secondary pairs (in a full house).
The game is played with a standard 52-card English deck plus one joker (“bug”), which counts as a wild card and may be used to fill in a straight or certain other poker hands. The game is typically played by six or seven players. Position is a critical element in poker; being in late position gives you the advantage of acting last on most hands.