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The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players place bets and attempt to make the best possible hand. It can be played by any number of players from 2 to 14. The object is to win the pot, which consists of all bets made during a single deal. This may be done by having the highest-ranking hand or by making a bet that no other player calls.

There are a wide variety of poker games, from simple draw to the elaborate, high-stakes tournament play that takes place in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. However, most poker games are based on the same basic principles. Players start with two cards each and the game is governed by a set of rules that determine how to act in a given situation.

The cards are shuffled, cut and then dealt one at a time, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. The first round of betting is started by 2 mandatory bets called blinds, placed into the pot by the players to the left of the dealer.

Most games use a standard deck of 52 cards, with the rank of the cards (high to low) being Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2. Some variants will add wild cards. Poker has a history that stretches back to the Renaissance game of primero and the French game of poque, both of which may have come from the German game of pochen, itself derived from the Persian game as nas.