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The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players bet into a central pot while trying to make the best possible five-card hand. Players must ante (the amount varies by game) to be dealt cards, and once they have their two hole cards the first of many betting rounds begins. Depending on the variant, some players may be allowed to draw additional cards or replace their original ones from an undealt portion of the deck in the middle of each round.

Before any cards are dealt, the player to the left of the button must place a forced bet called the small blind. This is done to create an incentive for players to play and give them something to chase after.

Once everyone has their two cards, one more card is dealt face up on the table called the flop. This starts another round of betting, again starting with the player to the left of the dealer.

The highest-ranking hand wins the pot. The highest-ranking poker hands are a royal flush which contains an Ace, King, Queen, and Jack of the same suit. Other high-ranking poker hands are a straight which is 5 consecutive cards of the same rank or suits. Other poker hands include four of a kind which is three cards of the same rank, and two pair which is two matching cards plus an unmatched third card. Players can also bluff during the poker game, and sometimes even a bad hand with good bluffing skills can win a poker tournament.