Poker is a gambling card game played with a traditional deck of 52 playing cards. There are many different rule-sets, with variations on how many cards are dealt, betting amounts, and card exchanges, but they all use the same combinations of cards, or "hands," to determine a winner. Most games of poker have multiple rounds, with each round containing a series of bets made by each player. If a player doesn't wish to match a bet, they may fold at any time. At the end of a hand, the winning hand collects all the bets made during that round, and a game of poker is over when all but one player has run out of money.
At the end of each hand of poker, a winner is determined based on their combinations of the five best cards they have been dealt. The following list is in order of strongest to weakest hand:
- Straight Flush - 10,J,Q,K,A; all the same suit.
- Four of a Kind - Four cards of the same denomination.
- Full House - Three cards matching one denomination, and two other cards matching another.
- Flush - Five cards all of the same suit.
- Straight - Five cards of sequential denomination.
- 3 of a Kind - Three cards matching the same denomination.
- Two Pair - Two sets of two cards matching the same denomination.
- Pair - Two cards matching the same denomination.
Forms Of Poker
There are dozens of variations on poker rule sets. Most are played with either 5 or 7 cards available to each player. Some variants, referred to as "Draw," allow players to trade in some of their cards for new ones in hope of getting a better hand. Others, referred to as "Stud," only let players use the cards they are initially dealt. All forms of poker involve rounds of betting, with "limit" or "no limit" rules that can put a cap on the amount a player can bet.
Texas Hold 'Em
Of note is the stud variation "Texas Hold 'Em," which has become one of the most popular forms of poker. In this version of Poker, each player receives two cards face down (which they can look at immediately but must remain hidden until the end of the hand) and round of betting occurs. After this, three cards are placed face up in the middle of the table, and each player can use these "community" cards in conjunction with their "hole" cards. After another round of betting, another card is placed faced up on the table. Another round of betting occurs, and then one more card is placed face up in the middle (for a total of 5). After one final round of betting occurs, each player shows their hole cards, the winner is determined, and they collect the pot.
Poker in Video Games
There have been a number of variations of poker available in the video game world. Through the 80's and 90's, numerous versions of poker games were available on PC (many of them strip poker, with primitive graphics of nudity). But after the turn of the century, the popularity of poker exploded as it became a TV spectator sport, and professional poker players became household names. This caused a boom in poker video games to be developed, with most game systems getting their own versions of the card game, and allowed players to face off with each other online.
Poker has even made its way into games that otherwise have nothing to do with the sport, with games like Red Dead Redemption, Rage, and Far Cry 3 featuring poker as a playable mini-game within their game world.