Rules of Poker
Poker is a card game played by two or more persons. The game got its name in New Orleans, La., during the early 1800's from the French game Poque and spread north on the Mississippi riverboats. Since then, poker has become widely popular and has been called the great American game. Although as few as two persons can play, games with four to eight players are considered more interesting. In most forms of the game a standard 52-card deck is used. A joker is sometimes added as a wild card, and sometimes the players make certain cards from the regular pack wild, usually deuces. Each player bets on his cards, and the player with the best hand of five cards wins the wagers. Winning poker hands, ranked from the highest to the lowest, are as follows:
- Five of a Kind: composed of one or more cards of the same rank and wild cards.
- Royal Flush: ace, king, queen, jack, and 10 of the same suit.
- Straight Flush: any five cards of the same suit in sequence, such as 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 of hearts.
- Four of a Kind: four cards of the same rank, such as four jacks or four 8's.
- Full House: three of a kind and a pair, such as three kings and a pair of 9's.
- Flush: any five cards of the same suit but not in sequence.
- Straight: any five cards in sequence but not of the same suit. The ace may be counted as higher than the king or lower than the deuce, or 2.
- Three of a Kind: three cards of the same rank.
- Two Pairs.
- One Pair.
- High Card: If there are no winning combinations, the highest card wins. In case of a tie the player holding the next-highest card wins.
If two players have the same combinations of cards, such as two straights, the player with the highest-ranking cards wins. If two players have exactly the same cards in different suits, they divide the winnings; suits have no rank in poker.
There are many forms of poker, but the two most popular kinds are draw poker and stud poker. In draw poker each player is dealt five cards facedown. Beginning to the left of the dealer, the players open the betting. Each player bets that his is the best hand. In some games a pair of jacks or a better combination is required to open. A player must match the bets that are made or drop out of the hand. He may also raise the bets when his turn comes, and the other players must match his wager or drop out. After the first round of betting, each player may try to improve his hand by discarding some of his cards and drawing new ones. Usually, when seven or eight are playing, no more than three cards may be drawn. After a new round of betting, the remaining players show their cards, and the highest hand wins the wagers, or pot.
In stud poker each player is dealt one card facedown and another faceup. The player with the highest card showing opens the betting. A second round of cards is dealt faceup, and the highest combination showing opens the betting. In this way, betting follows each round of the deal until a complete hand, usually five cards, is dealt. A player may drop out at any time.
Other popular forms of poker include crisscross, spit in the ocean, Michigan, and high-low. The most popular form of poker is dealer's choice, in which the dealer decides which variation of poker will be played.
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