Poker is the most popular card game worldwide. The aim of the game is to win the pot, which is formed from bets placed during four (or fewer) rounds. The two main ways to win a pot are to form a poker hand that is stronger than your opponents’, or make your opponents fold their hands and refuse to continue the game.
A hand always consists of five cards. Any hand in one category on the list beats any hand in any category below it. For example, any straight flush beats any four of a kind; any flush beats any straight. Hands are rated according to the following scale:
An ace-high straight flush known as the royal flush is the highest ranking standard poker hand.
Five consecutive cards all of the same suit. Among two straight flushes, the winner is the one with the highest card.
Four of a kind
Four cards of the same value. Between two fours of a kind, the strongest is the one with higher value cards. If players share the same four of a kind, then value of the fifth card (kicker) determines the winner.
The combination of three of a kind and a pair. When comparing hands of a full house, the player with the best three of a kind wins. If those are the same, then the player with the best pair wins.
All five cards of the same suit, but without sequence. If two of more players share a flush then the player with the highest card wins.
Five consecutive cards of two or more different suits. Between two straights, the winner is the one with the highest value card.
Three of a kind
The combination of three cards of the same value. Between two threes of a kind, the winner is the one with the highest-value cards. If the threes of a kind are equal in value, then the highest of the two remaining cards (kicker) determines the winner.
Two cards of the same value plus two cards of another value. When comparing hands of two pairs, the highest pair determines the winner. If the higher pair have the same value, then the lower pair is compared. If the lower pair also have the same value, then the player with a fifth card of a higher value (kicker) is the winner.
Two cards of the same value. If players have the same pair, then the highest of the three remaining cards (kicker) determines the winner.
A poker hand made of any five cards that doesn’t meet any hand requirements. If players have the same high card, then the second highest card (and so on) determine the winner.
Before cards are dealt, the player sitting to the left of the Dealer is forced to make a bet called the small blind. The next player sitting to the left of the small blind is also forced to make a bet called the big blind. The amount of the big blind is twice the amount of the small blind.
If a player is joining a game in progress, i.e. has sat at a table and is not in the big blind position, he or she places one mandatory bet, which is called the ante. It is made once and is equal to the big blind.
A player may not raise an amount that is less than the big blind.
If you do not have enough chips to call a bet, you may go "all-in". This means that you are betting everything you have left. If you go all-in, you are not allowed to win more money than you were able to call. If the pot increases after you go all-in and win, the pot will be split between you and the player with the next best hand who was able to cover the raises.
If two or more players tie, the pot is split evenly between them.
The cards are dealt onto the table over the course of five betting rounds: the preflop, flop, turn, river, and showdown.
Each player is dealt two "hole" cards. Betting begins from the player sitting to the left of the big blind. Since there is a forced bet from the small and big blinds, the other players cannot check in the preflop and remain in the hand. Instead, they must call the big blind or raise; otherwise they can fold.
Players estimate the strength of their cards and decide which action to take (call/raise/fold). At the end of the betting round, all the bets are put into a shared pot; the players will compete for it in the subsequent rounds.
Three community cards are dealt face-up on the table (the flop). All the players at the table can use these cards to make their own five-card hands. Betting on the flop begins with the first active player sitting clockwise from the dealer. Players assess the situation and decide whether to bet again or fold. All the bets are added to the current pot.
The fourth card, called the turn, is revealed on the table. Now players have more information to make decisions, and one more card to make their five-card hand. One more betting round similar to the flop takes place.
The river is the fifth and final community card on the table. The betting round is similar to the prior two (the flop and turn), except there are no more community cards dealt after the betting round. Players now have seven cards available to make their five-card hand: two "hole" cards and five community cards. All the money placed in the pot by the players is combined with the current pot, and the game moves to the final stage.
Those remaining in the game after all the four rounds take part in the showdown (exposing of the cards) and compare their hands. The player with the highest poker hand made of all available seven cards wins the hand and the pot.
In a betting round, the player can perform one of the following actions:
If there has already been a bet, calling means that a player agrees to match the bet. In other words, if player A bets 10, and player B calls, player B will have to match the 10 bet and put 10 into the pot.
If there have been no bets in the current round, a player can check. Action then moves to the next player on the left. The check can be interpreted as a sort of pass: you remain in the game, but decide not to bet in the current round.
A player can increase the current size of the bet. To do this, the bet must exceed the last player’s bet by at least double. To continue competing for the pot, all the subsequent players must call or re-raise this bet, or fold their hand.
Folding means to refuse to compete for the current pot. If a player folds, the player’s cards no longer participate in the hand and cannot win in the current round.