The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players wager money, or chips, against each other. The object is to win the pot by forming the best five-card hand possible. The highest-value hand is a straight, which consists of consecutive cards of the same suit; the second-highest is a flush; and the lowest is three of a kind. The game is played with a standard 53-card pack plus one or two jokers. In addition, the jack of hearts, king of diamonds, and ace of spades are commonly designated as wild cards.

The rules of Poker are determined by the particular variant being played, but there are some general guidelines that can be followed:

A round of betting begins after all players receive their hole cards. Each player must place into the pot a number of chips (representing money) that is at least equal to the total contribution by the players who have placed their bets before him. These initial forced bets are referred to as the blinds.

Once all players have placed their bets, the flop is dealt. This is another round of betting and is started by the player to the left of the dealer.

Often the players will establish a special fund called the kitty, to which they contribute low-denomination chips every time there is more than one raise. This is used to pay for new decks of cards and other expenses associated with the game. Players may also agree to share the profits of a winning hand.

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