Among American cultures, poker is the national card game. It is played in private homes, casinos, and tournaments, but it has also become popular online. The main goal of poker is to make the best possible five-card hand. The lowest possible hand is 7-5-4-3-2 in two or more suits, but it is also possible to make a straight with two cards from outside the hand.
In most forms of poker, the first player to act is required to make the first bet. The next player may check and the next player may raise, until a player is all-in, which means the player places all his or her chips in the pot. The pot is the aggregate of all the bets made by all the players during the deal. It can be won by the highest ranking hand or by a bet that no other player makes.
When playing, each player is dealt one card face up and another card face down. If there is a tie, the tie is broken by the highest unmatched card. If the tie cannot be broken, the two cards of the same suit are considered equal, and the remaining cards are divided equally. If the two unmatched cards are a pair of aces, it is considered the lowest hand.
The player who makes the first bet is called the first bettor. The first bettor must bet the minimum amount of money in the first betting interval. This first bet is followed by the second betting interval. After the second betting interval, a third betting interval occurs, and so on until the last betting interval. The last betting interval is the final betting round, which is the end of the game.
After the first betting interval, a turn is taken and the next player must decide to bet, fold, or call. The last player to act is said to be the dealer. The button, which is usually a plastic disk, indicates the nominal dealer for betting purposes. The dealer is not a player, but a professional dealer, who charges a small percentage of the pot.
After the first betting interval, the next player must bet the same amount of money that the previous player bet. If the previous bettor bet more, the player who bet more is said to raise. Likewise, if the previous bettor bet less, the player who bet less is said to fold. The player who declines to bet, or folds, is said to drop.
After the first betting interval, if no player calls, the next betting interval is the showdown. The showdown is the final round of betting. If a player is all-in at this point, he or she wins the entire pot. This type of poker is known as rock, because the player is tight and forces the other players to bet more. The term “rock” is also used to describe a poker player who sits around a table for hours without actually playing the game.