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The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played by two or more players on a circular table. The object of the game is to win the pot, which consists of all bets made during a hand. The pot may be won by a player having the highest ranking hand, or by betting heavily enough to prevent other players from calling their bets.

There are a variety of different games of poker, each with its own rules and strategies. However, the basic principles are the same for all of them. Some forms of the game can be played with as few as two players, but most are designed for four or more. Depending on the game, some players may be required to place an initial amount of money into the pot before the cards are dealt. These bets are known as antes, blinds, or bring-ins.

After the initial bets are placed, each player is dealt five cards face down. They must then decide whether to play their cards or fold them. When a player folds, they surrender their cards to the dealer and are not allowed to make any further bets on that hand (though some games allow a player to check instead of raising). Players must announce when they are checking by tapping the table with their fist or knuckles, open hands, or the index finger(s) of one hand.

Ties are broken by the highest unmatched card or secondary pairs (such as threes of a kind or fours of a kind). The highest-ranking hand is the royal flush, which consists of a 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of the same suit.