Probably the most popular card game in the world is poker, which has been played in homes, private clubs, casinos, and even over the Internet. The origins of the game are not clear, although it may have traces of other games. Most commonly, it is regarded as sharing ancestry with French brelan and primero, or it is believed to have its roots in the Persian game of as nas.
The basic rule of poker is that each player must make a bet to contribute to the pot. Players are usually able to make a bet directly into the pot, or they can bet by matching a previous bet. If a player makes a bet that matches another bet, he is said to call. Similarly, if a player bets more than the previous bet, he is said to raise.
In poker, each hand is made up of five cards. The lowest hand is seven-five-four-three-two (also called 6-4-3-2-A), while the best possible hand is a five-of-a-kind. The ranking of poker hands is not determined by suit or mathematical frequency, but by odds. In fixed-limit games, the limit on bets is generally twice as high in the final betting interval. In pot-limit games, the limit is normally only the limit on raises.
In straight poker, each player receives a set of five face-down cards. These cards are then mixed together. The player nearest the dealer’s left is the first player to act. This person is also the first to make a bet. If the dealer does not call, he is considered to be “in” the pot, and the bet is paid.
In stud poker, the rules are similar to that of straight, but a player has to hold at least two hole cards. He can discard one of his cards. He can also draw new cards to replace his cards. If he draws a jack, he becomes the first dealer. If he does not, the player to his left is the first to bet.
In five-card stud, the first betting interval is the minimum. The next is the second, the third is the third, the fourth is the fourth, and so on. Each player is allowed to shuffle his or her cards, but the cards are not burned. If a player folds, the cards remain in the hand, but the player forfeits his or her right to the pot. This is called a forced bet.
In Omaha, the highest five-card hand wins the pot. The pot can be split into side pots. The difference is that each player may win the side pot, or the main pot, depending on which player wins the main pot. Aside from these, there are many other variations of the game. Among them are community card poker, which was introduced around 1925, lowball, and split-pot poker. In some variations, the low hand is treated as the lowest card, and in others, a player may use the ace to create a high or low hand.