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The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players make bets with chips that are then placed into the pot. The value of a hand is in inverse proportion to its mathematical frequency; the rarer the combination of cards, the more valuable the hand. Players may also bluff by betting that they have the best hand when they do not.

The game is played with a standard 53-card English deck including the joker, which counts only as a fifth ace or to fill a flush (a series of five cards of the same suit), a straight or certain special hands. The deuces (2s) are wild cards. Two to seven players can play.

In most Poker games there are two or more betting intervals. Each player must bet at least the established minimum, or drop (fold). A player who folds loses all of his or her chips in that betting interval and cannot compete for the pot.

Some Poker variations award the pot to the highest-ranked hand; others divide it between the lowest and highest hands. Some variations further refine the standard poker hand rankings by excluding certain hands from consideration, or adding other types of hands to the mix.

To become a good poker player, it is important to study the game and learn its strategies. It is also helpful to have a network of great poker players who are willing to discuss their thought processes and strategies with you. There are many online poker forums where you can find such people, and they will be happy to help you with your game.