Generally, there are three stages in poker: the draw phase, the betting phase and the showdown. The draw phase is when the player chooses five cards from which to form his or her hand. Each player must use the cards in his or her hand to create a hand that ranks highest in order to win the pot. The highest ranked hand wins the pot, while the lowest ranked hand loses half the pot.
The draw phase occurs between the first and second betting phases. Depending on the game, the dealer will reveal his or her cards to the players in turn. The player who has the highest card in his or her hand at the showdown will win the pot. If none of the players have a winning hand, play continues to the next round.
After the draw phase, the next betting phase begins with the player who has the best face-up card. During this phase, all of the other players can fold or raise their bets. However, the betting will stop once the last remaining player has folded or raised. If a player raises his or her bet, the other players must raise their bets if they wish to continue playing.
If a player wishes to raise his or her bet, he or she must add more money to the bet in front of him or her. This increases the player’s stake by an amount equal to the original bet. If the player is unwilling to raise the stake, he or she can call, or match the current bet. If another player raises his or her bet, he or her must also call. If a player calls, the stake will increase to the same amount as the previous bet.
If the player does not call, he or she must fold. In the case that the player has a pair or worse, the player may be aggressive and run a bluff. He or she can do so by using the hole cards to bluff. The player can also discard the cards, which improves the rank of the hand. Normally, the players who use a bluff are those who have a lot of hands in their range. Those who are not aggressive are more likely to fold to aggression.
The third and final betting phase is the showdown. If all of the other players have checked or called, the pot is divided equally among them. In the case that no one has a winning hand, the remaining players will be given the current stake value. In case of a draw, the winner is the player with the highest ranked hand. In short deck, a straight beats a three of a kind. In rarer versions of the game, a three of a kind is higher than a straight.
After the third and final round of betting, the remaining players will have the same stake as the player who started the hand. If any of the remaining players want to discard, he or she can do so.