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The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game that can be played by two or more players. The objective is to win the “pot,” which is the total of all bets made by all players during one deal. The pot may be won by having the highest-ranking poker hand or by making a bet that no other player calls. There are many different forms of poker, but most have a similar structure.

Each player starts by putting into the pot (a representation of money) a number of chips equal to or at least greater than the minimum ante required by the game. This is known as buying in. In some games, there are wild cards, which can take on any suit or rank.

The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals them to the players clockwise around the table. Each player then has the option of calling a bet or raising it. If the player calls, he must put in an amount of chips equal to or greater than the raise of the previous player. He may also drop (fold), in which case he forfeits any chips that he has already put into the pot.

The highest-ranking poker hands are the royal flush, which consists of an ace, king, queen, jack, and ten of the same suit; a straight, five consecutive cards of the same suit; three of a kind; and two pair. In the event of a tie, high card rules are used to break the tie.