Known to its fans as a “card game of skill”, Poker has become increasingly popular in recent years, due in part to its use in casinos and the popularity of online Poker. Its origins are not entirely clear, but it is likely that the game traces its roots to the French brelan and German pochen. A number of variants of the game have been introduced, which share certain essential features.
Depending on the variation, players may be required to contribute to the pot before the deal, a process known as an ante. After the deal, the dealer takes a turn to shuffle the cards in the pack. Unless the rules for a particular game state otherwise, the shuffled deck is then passed to the next player on the left.
A standard 52-card pack is used, and the number of cards that appear in the deck can vary. Jokers are sometimes added, and a wild card is considered a fifth card in some special hands.
Typically, Poker has two or more betting intervals per deal, each with a limit on the amount of chips that can be bet. The first interval begins with a bet by the first player, and each subsequent player is obligated to “call” or “raise” the bet. If a player does not call, he or she can fold. If a player folds, he or she discards their hand and loses any chips in the pot.
The second interval begins with a bet by the player to the left of the previous bettor. The player to the left must then “drop” the bet, which means he or she must place the same number of chips in the pot as the previous bettor did. If no other player calls the bet, the hand is said to be “held” and the betting interval ends. The final betting interval is called the “showdown” and ends when all of the bets have been checked, or matched. A player who holds the best hand in a Poker hand wins the pot.
During the last betting interval, each player to the left of the previous bettor can call, or raise, the bet. If a player does call, he or she must place the same number as the previous bettor did in the pot. If a player raises, he or she may count the bet as part of the pot, which must be at least the same amount as the previous bettor. If a player does not call the bet, he or she can fold. If no other player calls the bet, he or she wins the pot.
In Stud Poker, some cards are dealt face up as the betting progresses. A joker counts as a fifth card in certain special hands, and all four deuces are wild cards. Unlike in the other forms of Poker, there is no relative rank for the suits, and ties among wild cards are broken by secondary pairs. The highest unmatched card breaks the tie.