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The Basics of Poker

The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played between two or more players with the goal of making a high-ranking hand from the cards in your hand and the community cards exposed on the table. The game requires a fair amount of skill to minimize losses with poor hands and maximize wins with strong ones, but the game is mostly chance because it is a betting game that involves placing chips into the pot.

Before any cards are dealt, a player must put in an initial contribution into the pot (amount varies by game) called either a blind or an ante. After this players are dealt cards that they keep hidden from the other players, which are called hole cards. At the end of a betting interval the highest hand wins the pot.

The game uses a standard 52-card deck with four suits: spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. Some games use jokers as wild cards that can take on any suit or rank.

During the course of each poker deal there are one or more betting intervals that players may choose to make bets on. The player to the left of the dealer, or the designated “opening” player, has the right and obligation to make the first bet. Players then place chips into the pot in turn until someone folds or raises a bet.

A raised bet means that a player wants to add more money into the pot and is challenging other players to match or exceed their contribution. When a player raises the bet, other players must either call their new bet or fold. If they call, the raiser must also add chips into the pot. If they fold, they are out of the hand.