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The Basics of Poker

The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players place chips representing money into a central pot. The goal is to win this pot by having the highest-ranking hand. The game can be played with any number of players. It may also have rules for how the prize, if any, is distributed after it is won.

Before cards are dealt, one player as designated by the rules of the specific poker variant being played must place an initial contribution, called an ante, into the pot. Each subsequent player then has an opportunity to bet on his or her hand. The players’ hands develop during the course of each betting interval according to the rules of the particular variant being played.

When it is your turn to bet, you can say “call” or “I call” to make a bet equal to the last person’s bet. Alternatively, you can say “raise” or “I raise” to add more chips to the pot. You must then either call the new bet or fold your cards.

During the first betting phase, each player receives 2 cards that are face-down (hidden from other players). These are called a player’s hole cards. A player must use these cards and the other community cards (dealt face up in the center of the table) to form a 5-card poker hand. If no player has a high enough hand after the first round of betting, the remaining players participate in a showdown.