Poker is a card game in which players bet money into a central pot during multiple betting rounds. The winner is the player who holds the best hand after all the rounds are complete.
The game is played from a standard pack of cards (typically 52, though some variant games use more). There are four suits and all hands contain five cards, the highest of which wins.
Typical poker hands include:
Ace, King, Queen and Jack. The game can also use jokers as wild cards, and some versions allow wild cards to take on any suit.
Straights: A straight is a set of five cards that consists of one running sequence, regardless of suit. The highest natural straight is a Royal Flush, and the lowest is 7-5-4-3-2.
Pairs: A pair is two distinct cards of the same rank, and one fifth card, usually a spade or heart. A pair is used to break ties when neither player has a high single card, or when a high single card cannot be broken by the second highest card.
Flushes: A flush is a set of five cards, and may include any suit. The lowest natural flush is a straight flush, and the highest is a royal flush.
Poker is a game of chance, and it will never be completely fair to a player, regardless of skill level. However, it is possible to make a number of decisions that will reduce the influence of chance as much as possible. This is known as ‘optimal play’. It is an art, and takes a great deal of patience, guts and discipline to master.