Poker is a card game with hundreds of variations. Its origins are unknown, but some rumors claim that it was first played in Persia. However, it is most likely that the game originated in France and was derived from poque, a 17th century French game. The game eventually evolved into its current form, with German pochen and Spanish primero as its influences. It eventually reached the New World through French settlers, where it is still played today.
The highest-ranking cards win. If two people hold four of a kind, the higher-ranking card wins. Otherwise, a high card outside of the four-of-a-kind wins. In a tie, the highest-ranking card of a straight or three-of-a-kind hand wins. A straight starting with the highest card wins, as does a straight starting with an ace. The highest unmatched card in a hand is known as a flush.
There are many variations of poker, but the basic rules are the same. In most games, players must make an initial “ante” (the “buy-in” to play the round). Then, the dealer deals each player two cards, known as “hole cards” or “big blind.” Each player has three betting options: to raise the initial bet, to check, or to fold.
Limit games have a small betting structure that increases to big bet amounts in later rounds. The first three raises will “cap” betting, meaning that subsequent players may only call or raise if the top-ranking player matches or beats the open bet. The highest-ranking player wins the pot and the remaining bets.