Poker is a family of gambling card games, but is often considered a skill based game. All poker variants involve betting as an intrinsic part of play, and determine the winner of each hand according to the combinations of players' cards, at least some of which remain hidden until the end of the hand. Poker games vary in the number of cards dealt, the number of shared or "community" cards, the number of cards that remain hidden, and the betting procedures.
In most modern poker games, the first round of betting begins with one or more of the players making some form of a forced bet (the blind and/or ante). In standard poker, each player bets according to the rank they believe their hand is worth as compared to the other players. The action then proceeds clockwise as each player in turn must either match, or "call", the maximum previous bet or fold, losing the amount bet so far and all further interest in the hand. A player who matches a bet may also "raise", or increase the bet. The betting round ends when all players have either called the last bet or folded. If all but one player folds on any round, the remaining player collects the pot without being required to reveal their hand. If more than one player remains in contention after the final betting round, a showdown takes place where the hands are revealed, and the player with the winning hand takes the pot.
With the exception of initial forced bets, money is only placed into the pot voluntarily by a player who either believes the bet has positive expected value or who is trying to bluff other players for various strategic reasons. Thus, while the outcome of any particular hand significantly involves chance, the long-run expectations of the players are determined by their actions chosen on the basis of probability, psychology, and game theory.
Poker has gained in popularity since the beginning of the twentieth century and has gone from being primarily a recreational activity confined to small groups of enthusiasts to a widely popular activity, both for participants and spectators, including online, with many professional players and multimillion-dollar tournament prizes.
Ranking of Texas Hold’em hands
There are a number of different combinations that can form a hand in poker. For example, if you have five clubs, then you have a flush. All the possible hands are explained on the following table.
The strongest poker hand is the royal flush. It consists of Ten, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace, all of the same suit, e.g. spades.
The second strongest hand in poker is the straight flush. It is composed of five consecutive cards of the same suit. If two players have a straight flush, the one with the highest cards wins.
A four-of-a-kind is four cards of the same rank, e.g. four Kings. If two players have four-of-a-kind, then the one with the highest four-of-a-kind wins. If they have the same (if four-of-a-kind is on the board), then the player with the highest fifth card wins, since a poker hand is always composed of five cards.
A full house is a combination of a three-of-a-kind and a pair. If two players have a full house, then the one with the highest three-of-a-kind wins. If they have the same one, then the pair counts.
Five cards of the same suit make a flush. If two players have a flush, then the one with the highest cards wins.
Five consecutive cards are called a straight. If two players have a straight, the one with the highest cards wins.
A three-of-a-kind is composed of three cards of the same rank. If two players have the same three-of-a-kind, then the other cards, or both cards, determine the winner, since a poker hand is a always composed of five cards.
Two-pair hands are, of course, composed of two pairs. If two players have two-pair, the rank of the higher pair determines the winner. If they have the same higher pair, then the lower one counts. If that is also the same, then the fifth card counts.
A pair is composed of two cards of the same rank. Since a poker hand is always composed of five cards, the other three cards are so-called "kickers". In case two players have the same pair, then the one with the highest kicker wins.
If you don't even have a pair, then you look at the strength of your cards. If there are two players at showdown who don't have a pair or better, then the one with the highest cards wins.
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