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The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played by two or more players and involves betting. The object of the game is to execute the most profitable actions (bet, raise or fold) based on the information at hand and the player’s long-term expectation. Although the outcome of any individual hand largely involves chance, significant amounts of skill and psychology are involved in poker.

The game is played using a standard deck of 52 cards, with the addition of one or more jokers (wildcards) as determined by the rules of each specific variant. The cards are ranked (from highest to lowest) as follows: ace, king (K), queen (Q), jack (J), ten, nine, eight, seven, six and five. Some games may also use different suits, or even add special cards to the deck.

Each player begins the game by placing an amount of money, called chips, into the pot. This is known as the ante. After this the dealer deals each player a hand of five cards face down. After each subsequent betting interval the players show their hands and the highest hand wins.

There are many different poker variants, but most have the same basic structure. The goal of each player is to win the “pot,” or sum of all bets placed during a deal, by either holding a high-ranking hand or by bluffing. Players must act in a way that maximizes their chances of being in position at the end of a hand, since they have more opportunities to raise and call bets from players in late positions than from those in early positions.