The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players place bets and then reveal their cards. The highest hand wins the pot. Players may also choose to fold their hand. The game is played in homes, poker clubs, in casinos and over the Internet. The game has become a part of American culture and has spawned numerous variations.

The basic rules of poker are simple and resemble those of most other card games. Players must contribute a small amount of money to the pot, called the blind or ante. After the ante is placed, the dealer deals each player five cards. These cards are arranged in a row with the face down and the back up. The cards are community, meaning they are visible to all players. During each betting interval, a player who bets the same as the last player is said to call; a player who bets more than the previous player is said to raise.

The cards are ranked according to their mathematical probability of occurring, from high to low: Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 are the highest cards; the suits have no rank; and ties are broken by the highest unmatched card or by secondary pairs (three of a kind and two pair). Some games use wild cards or jokers. Some games have multiple pots or side bets. The act of raising a bet is referred to as “raising the action.” This move gives you more information than your opponents and provides cheap, effective bluffing opportunities.

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