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The Basics of Poker

The Basics of Poker

Poker is a game of chance in which players compete for an amount of money (called the pot) contributed by other players. It is played in a wide variety of forms and variants; however, it shares certain basic features.

How to Play

In poker, each player is dealt two cards. These cards are kept secret from the other players. After the players are dealt their cards, they can fold, check or make a bet.

How to Win

In most games of poker, the highest-ranking hand wins the pot. But some variations of the game award the pot to the lowest-ranked hand instead. These games may also have side pots.

The winning hand is determined by its value in relation to the rest of the players’ hands; for example, a pair of eights is the highest-ranking hand, but a five-card flush is the best.

There are many types of poker, but most games involve a standard 52-card deck. Each card has a suit, and the suits are hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds.


The game begins with each player making an ante, which is a small bet to start the betting. After the cards are dealt, players act in clockwise order by folding, checking, or making a bet. The first betting interval ends when all players have folded, or when the player who made the last bet raises.