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The Basics of Poker

The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players wager chips (representing money) against each other. The object of the game is to win the pot, which is the sum of all the bets placed during one deal. While the outcome of any particular hand may rely heavily on chance, players generally act in ways to maximize expected value or minimize risk through strategic decisions that combine probability, psychology and game theory.

Each player has a supply of poker chips, which are standardized in color and worth a specific amount (e.g., a white chip is worth the minimum ante; a red chip is worth five whites). A player must place at least as many chips into the pot as any player to his or her left in order to call a bet, and may raise the amount of chips they put in by one, two or three times (depending on the variant being played).

During each betting interval, called a deal, a player has the option of raising, checking, or folding. A player who raises more than a previous bet is said to have made an all-in bet, and there are special rules for how this type of bet works.

Some poker games have a designated dealer, who is responsible for shuffling the deck and dealing the cards to each player. In some cases, the dealer is not a player, but a non-player who is paid to be the dealer. The dealer is given a special “dealer chip” to designate his or her responsibility, and this chip must be passed around the table after each round of betting. Unless the dealer is also a player, any chips remaining in the kitty when the poker game ends are divided evenly among players who are still active in the game.