Poker is a card game that involves betting between two or more players. The goal is to have the highest ranked hand of cards at the end of the hand, which is called the showdown. The player with the highest ranked hand wins the “pot” – all of the money that has been bet during that particular hand.
Usually, a hand is made up of five cards. A straight contains any 5 cards in consecutive rank and from the same suit. A flush is made up of 3 matching cards of one rank and 2 matching cards of another rank. A three of a kind is made up of 3 cards of the same rank and 1 unmatched card. Two pair is made up of 2 cards of the same rank and another two unmatched cards.
Top players typically fast-play their strong hands, in order to build the pot and chase off other players waiting for a better hand. They do this to maximize their winnings and to avoid wasting money in bad situations where they would lose money even if they won their hands.
Before a hand begins, the players may decide by consensus to establish a special fund, called the kitty, into which they place a low-denomination chip for each bet placed during that particular hand. This kitty is used to pay for new decks of cards and other expenses during the tournament. In some games, the kitty is also used to cover any lost chips during the course of the tournament.