Poker is a family of cardgames sharing a common goal for the players of making the best combination of cards and placing wagers on those cards during the rounds of the game. The bets are paid into a pot and the player with the best combination of cards at the end of the hand wins the pot. Usually a hand consists of five cards.

Poker is a game of chance, but there are elements of strategy to it. The strategies depend on whether one plays against a dealer in a casino or against other players, against whom one can gain an advantage through careful manoeuvering.

The word is also a synonym for four of a kind.

Poker Variants

There are countless variants of poker.

The most common variants can be classified as follows:

Games with communal cards
Each player recieves some cards of his own face down at the beginning of a hand. In later rounds, further cards are dealt face up on the table and these belong to all the players. Any player may use these community cards to build a hand. The most popular versions of this type are Texas Hold'em and Omaha.

There are no community cards in stud poker. Each player gets new cards over the course of a hand and bets follow dealing of the cards. In Seven Card Stud, for instance, each player gets two downcards and an open card to start. There are four other betting rounds, where the players get three more open cards and one downcard. From these seven cards, the player must build a hand of five. His opponents can see 4 of his cards but they cannot use them for their hands.

Draw poker is the opposite extreme from games with community cards. Each player gets only downcards, so that his opponents have no direct knowledge of them. One or more draw rounds follow, where players can trade cards in their hand for new ones.

Five Card draw is the most well known of these variants, and even non-poker players know it from westerns.

Low games are those in which the worst hand and not the best wins. Examples are Razz, Lowball Draw, and Deuce to Seven Triple Draw.

Hi/Lo games are those where both the best and the worst hands win; they split the pot. Omaha and Seven Cards Stud are both played with Hi/Lo variants.

Related Topics:

Pokerhands, Texas Hold'em, Omaha, Seven Card Stud