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The Basics of Poker


Poker is a family of card games in which players wager over which hand has the best possible combination of cards. There are hundreds of variations, but all have some essential features.

Game Overview

The game starts with each player being dealt a hand of two face-down cards and five face up. After the first round of betting, each player may discard up to three cards and take new ones from the top of the deck. Then another round of betting begins.

Betting rounds occur every time a new hand is dealt. During the betting round, each player in turn must call a bet by placing into the pot the same number of chips; raise by putting into the pot more than enough chips to call the previous bet; or fold (drop) by placing no chips into the pot and discarding their hand.


A bluff is the act of making a bet that is not the correct value for one’s hand, and then winning by convincing other players to call. This is especially effective in pot-limit tournaments, when the bettor can win by bluffing the other players into betting a lower amount than they would have otherwise.

Poker can be played socially for pennies or matchsticks, or professionally for thousands of dollars. It is a very skillful game that requires a great deal of luck, but it also has a lot of strategic elements. The key to a successful poker game is to use your strategy wisely.