Generally, poker is played with a standard 52-card deck. The cards are ranked from Ace to ten. The best hand wins the pot. There are several types of poker, including Texas Hold’em, Stud Poker, Omaha, and Seven-Card Stud. Some variants are played with different numbers of cards or wild cards.
The first player to the left of the dealer button has the right to deal the cards to the players. This is called the “right to deal”. A dealer button is a white plastic disk. In casual play, each player’s turn to deal rotates from left to right.
Each player must place a certain number of chips in the pot, based on the total contribution of the player before him. The ante amount varies by game. The house dealer is in charge of cards for each hand. The player who wins the hand must tip the dealer.
The cards are then dealt clockwise around the poker table. Each player is dealt five cards. These cards are ranked from Ace to ten, and are arranged in order of highest to lowest ranking. If two players have the same hand, the high card breaks the tie. If more than two players tie for the highest card, the higher card wins. If all players have the same hand, the highest pair wins the pot.
The next round of betting starts with the remaining two players. Each player must bet the same amount that was bet in the previous round. The next player to the left “calls” the bet.
The next player to the left has the right to re-shuffle the deck. If the next player does not re-shuffle, the dealer must offer the shuffled deck to the next player. The player who did not re-shuffle is called a “cut” or “drop” player.
Each player can discard up to three cards from their hand. If a player discards, he is considered “folding”. If he doesn’t fold, he is considered “checking”. The player who is checked is a non-competitor for the pot. The next player to the left is then called a “raise”. The next player to the left “raises” the amount of the bet.
A “showdown” occurs after the last betting interval. This is when all of the players’ hands are revealed to the other players. If the highest hand wins the pot, the player who holds the hand is declared the winner. If no one holds the best hand, the pot is split among the other players.
After the first round of betting, all but one player folds. The player who folded loses any chips in the pot. The last player who was not folded is called the “active player.” The active player is the one who places the most chips in the pot. The active player is also the one who has the right to call or raise. This player is said to “call” if he or she would like to continue playing.