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The Basics of Poker

Poker is a popular card game that’s played around the world. It’s a great way to make friends and have fun, but it also comes with some serious skill – if you know how to play the game well.

The rules of poker vary from game to game, but there are some common themes that apply across all games. The aim is to create the best five-card hand possible, or to convince other players that you have the strongest hand.

You can play poker with other people, or against the computer. It’s important to know the rules of the game before you start playing so you don’t get into trouble.

The first thing you need to do is learn how to read your opponents’ hands. This is important because it helps you figure out who has the best cards and who is bluffing.

When you’re ready to start playing, you should put some chips in the pot, and then decide whether to call (match) or raise. You can also choose to fold, which means you’ll lose any chips you’ve already placed into the pot.

There are some tells you should be aware of while playing poker, such as when you make eye contact and how you move your body. These tells are unconscious habits that reveal information about your hand.

In the 1880s, poker started spreading across America, mainly on riverboats that transported goods along the Mississippi River. The game was also a staple of Wild West saloons in frontier settlements.