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The Basics of Poker

The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game that involves betting between players with cards in their hand. There are several variants of the game, but all involve putting chips into a pot before the cards are dealt and then placing bets during betting intervals that are determined by the rules of the particular game being played.

Each player starts with two cards and must aim to make the best five card “hand” using those cards and the community (or shared) cards. The goal is to win the pot (all bets placed so far) by making the highest combination of cards possible. Each player has a choice of whether to call, raise, or fold during the betting.

During the first of what may be several betting intervals, one player, designated by the rules of the specific game, makes a bet of chips into the pot, which the players to his left must either call or raise. A player who chooses to raise must put into the pot at least as many chips as the player before him. If he is unwilling to do this, he drops (“folds”) his hand and is not active in the pot.

The game requires skill in reading the other players, knowing what they are doing, and changing your strategy based on that information. It also requires a certain amount of luck, as the cards you draw can make or break your hand. The more you play, the better you will become at minimizing your losses with poor hands and maximizing your winnings with good ones.