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The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players place bets (representing money) into the pot before seeing their cards. The winner of the pot is the player with the highest hand after all betting rounds are completed. Bets may be made by a single player or in groups of players. The game is typically played with a standard 52-card deck, although some variant games use multiple decks or include jokers. The deck is shuffled, and then each player receives five cards one at a time in rotation starting with the player to the left of the dealer. The turn to deal and the button (indicating who has the privilege of placing the first bet) rotate clockwise after each hand.

A poker hand consists of five cards of equal rank, and the highest card wins. A royal flush consists of a king, queen, jack and ace of the same suit (clubs, diamonds, hearts or spades). A straight consists of five consecutive cards of the same rank, but can be mixed suits (such as 5 aces and a 7). A pair consists of two matching cards of equal rank. A tie results in a split pot.

Players can raise the amount they are betting in order to encourage other players to call their bets and increase the chance of winning, or they can fold their hand and give up. Players can also try to win by bluffing, betting that they have a superior hand when they do not. Although the outcome of any particular hand involves a large element of chance, in the long run the players with the most skill will be the winners.