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The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game of chance and skill. It involves betting and raising between players in a series of betting intervals, and the object is to win the pot, which is the aggregate amount raised by all players in any one deal. The pot may be won either by having the best poker hand or by making a bet that no other player calls. The game has many variations, but most have a number of common features.

At the start of a game, all players buy in for a specified number of chips. Each chip has a specific value: the white or lightest-colored chips are worth whatever the minimum ante or bet is; red chips (or some other colored chips) are worth five whites; and blue chips (or some other dark-colored chips) are worth 10, 20, or 25 whites. Most games are played with fixed-limit bets, meaning that a player may not raise by more than the established limit.

During each betting interval, the player to his or her left may call the bet by putting into the pot the same number of chips as the bet; raise by the same amount; or drop (“fold”). Players who raise must have enough chips to call the current bet and any subsequent raises. If they cannot, they must leave the game.

When the bets equalize, a showdown occurs and each player shows his or her cards. The player with the highest poker hand wins the pot.