The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game that can be played by two or more players. It can be a recreational pastime or a competitive activity with the aim of winning money. There are hundreds of different poker variations, but they all share a number of basic rules.

Poker became popular in the early 21st century, largely due to the invention of online poker and hole-card cameras which allowed spectators to follow the action from anywhere. The popularity of the sport has continued to rise, with large audiences tuning into live events such as the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour.

There are several ways to bet in poker, including raising, calling and folding. Depending on the game, you may also be required to place an initial amount of money into the pot before being dealt in (this is called an ante or blind).

After each player has placed their chips into the pot it’s time for the first betting round. The dealer then puts three cards on the table that anyone can use – this is known as the ‘flop’. Once the flop has been revealed another betting round takes place.

The highest five-card hand wins the pot. A full house consists of three matching cards of the same rank, while a flush consists of five consecutive cards from the same suit. A straight consists of five cards in sequence, but they don’t have to be all from the same suit. If a player has the same type of hand as another player then the winnings are split.