The Basics of Poker


The origins of Poker are unclear. The earliest known form dates back to the early 17th century and is thought to have originated in the French game poque. Poque is where the word “poker” comes from, and evolved into German pochen, a new version of primero. The game spread rapidly in the American South and was popularized by gambling riverboats on the Mississippi River. It was then brought to North America by French settlers.

The best hand in a poker game is a “nuts” hand, which is a pair of high cards plus an odd card. The highest pair in a hand wins, and a second pair wins if the second pair is higher than the high card. If the two players do not have a pair of high cards, a tie is broken by the high card. The highest pair of five cards breaks a tie, and a straight or better than a pair of high cards wins if the player does not have a pair.

Before a poker game can begin, each player must make a minimum ante. The ante is equal to one half of the total amount of the pot. Then, the players make bets based on the best hand and try to persuade their opponents to fold. Knowing when to bet and when to fold are critical to success in poker. While the best hand is the combination of five cards with the highest pair, other hands may also be valuable.