The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which the highest ranking hand wins. It is played from a standard pack of 52 cards (though some variant games may use multiple packs or add extra cards called wild cards). Cards are ranked from high to low: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 7, 6, 4, 3, 2, and 1. Some variants also allow players to include a single joker.

At the start of each betting round, one player (on rotation per game) must make a forced bet, known as an ante. Each player then chooses whether to call the ante or fold his cards. If he calls, he places his chips into the pot and the next betting round begins. In many variants, a player can raise his bet at each betting interval. A player who makes a bet that exactly matches the bet of the player before him is said to call; he cannot raise his bet more than the previous bettor, however.

The highest possible poker hand is a Royal Flush, consisting of five consecutive cards of the same suit. Other common poker hands are Straight (five cards in a sequence but not of the same suit); Four of a Kind; Three of a Kind; Two Pair; and Pair. Some players will bluff by pretending to hold a strong hand that will beat the other players, forcing them to fold their cards and leaving their chips in the pot.

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