Game Summary Edit
Poker is a family of card games involving betting and individual play, whereby the winner is determined by the ranks and combinations of their cards, some of which remain hidden until the end of the game. Poker games vary in the number of cards dealt, the number of shared or "community" cards and the number of cards that remain hidden. The betting procedures vary among different poker games in such ways as betting limits and splitting the pot between a high hand and a low hand.
Playing the Game Edit
Traditionally, poker has been thought of as a game for 2 to 7 players, the more the better with 6 or 7 being the ideal number. However, some variants can be played by more than seven, and some versions work well for a small number of players - even with just two ("heads up"). The deal and play are clockwise.
A standard international 52-card pack is used, and in most forms of poker there are no jokers. The rank of the cards, from high to low, is A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. In certain circumstances the ace can be used as a low card, below the 2. For the purposes of comparing hands all suits are equal.
Poker is normally played for money, but it is convenient to use chips to represent money during the actual games. These generally come in various denominations, sometimes labelled with numbers 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and sometimes in colours such as white, red, blue whose values must be agreed. Players buy chips from the host before the game and redeem them for money at the end.
Players place an initial bet, if required by the game being played, by placing some of their chips into a central common area known as the pot or pool. The dealer deals cards to the players. Players look at their own cards, and have the opportunity to increase their bet, placing extra chips into the pot. All other players must then either put in chips to bring their contribution to the pot to at least an equal amount or fold, discarding their cards and abandoning any chips they have so far contributed to the pot.
Players who have not folded are known as active players. When all active players have contributed an equal amount to the pot, that is the end of the betting round. According to the variant being played, further cards may be dealt or players may have an opportunity to exchange some cards, after which there is another betting round, and so on. When the last betting round has ended there is a showdown: all active players show their cards, and the owner of the best five-card hand takes the contents of the pot. If at any point only one active player remains, that player automatically wins the pot without having to show any cards.
The objective is of course to win money, and there are two ways to do this. To have the best five-card hand at the showdown. To persuade all the other players to fold. It is the second possibility that creates the possibility for bluff. If everyone believes that you probably have a good hand, then when you raise the stake, they may prefer to fold rather than add chips to a pot that they will probably lose. If they all fold you win, even though your hand may in reality be much worse than theirs.