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The Basics of Poker


A game of poker involves betting between players and the placement of chips into a central pot. The player with the highest-ranking hand wins the pot. The game is played with a standard 52-card deck of playing cards.

The game can be played with any number of players. There are a few essential rules that all players must follow in order to play correctly. The first step is to ante up (put an amount of money into the pot). When betting comes around to you, you can either call the previous player’s bet or raise it. You can only do this if you have a strong enough hand to justify the bet.

In most forms of poker, each player receives five cards face down. There is a betting interval after each deal and a showdown at the end of the betting period. Straight poker was eclipsed in the 1850s by draw poker, which allows each active player, starting with the player to the dealer’s left, to discard one or more of his original cards and receive replacements from an undealt portion of the pack. There is a second betting interval and then a showdown.

The best hand of poker consists of five cards of consecutive rank, including a king or queen. The next best hand is four of a kind, which includes three matching cards of the same rank and two unmatched cards. A flush is any five cards of the same suit, a full house is 3 matching cards of the same rank and 2 unmatched cards and a pair is two matching cards of different ranks.