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The Basics of Poker

The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game that involves betting and raising. It is played in many variants and is generally a game of chance, but players can improve their chances of winning by making informed decisions based on probability and psychology.

In all poker games there is a pot that all bets go into. Depending on the game, a player may be required to place forced bets into this pot before being dealt cards. This is called an ante. During each betting interval, the first player to act must either call or raise. The player who acts first is known as the button and the player to his left is known as the blind.

After the ante and blind is placed the dealer will shuffle the cards and deal them to each player, beginning with the player on his left. Depending on the game, the players may be dealt either one or two cards at a time face down. They are then able to place bets in turns, until they have all folded or they have a good poker hand.

The best poker hands are made up of three or more matching cards of one rank and two unmatched cards of another rank. Four of a kind is made up of 4 of the same cards (for example Aces). A straight contains 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. A flush consists of five cards that are the same rank but from more than one suit. Finally, a high card or pair is 2 unmatched cards of the same rank.