There are hundreds of variations on poker – from family games for pennies and matchsticks to casino tournaments for thousands of dollars. Whether you play for fun or professionally, the underlying skill is to minimize losses with poor hands and maximize winnings with good ones.
Most players use poker chips, a small stack of white and colored tokens that each represents a unit or bet, with varying values. A single white chip is worth whatever the minimum ante or bet is, while a red chip is worth either ten whites or twenty whites (or two, four, or five red chips). During a hand of poker, each player places a bet into the pot by putting down one or more chips, called raising. The dealer then deals the cards, and players place bets by placing additional chips on top of their initial raises.
Some of these bets are mandatory, called the antes or blinds, while others are optional and optional bets are placed on top of them. Players may raise as many times as they wish, up to the maximum allowed by the game’s rules and the number of players.
Articles about poker history mention a wide variety of earlier vying games, but not all have much bearing on Poker, which evolved from a German game, Pochen, through French versions, including Poque, and then to the American version played on riverboats in the Mississippi Valley. There are also a few other variants, like 20-card poker, that may not be classed as true Poker, even though it includes genuine Poker components.