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What is Poker?

Poker is a card game that involves betting and skill. It is usually played with a small number of players around a table. Unlike other card games, in poker betting occurs throughout the hand rather than at the end. The object of the game is to win the pot, which is the sum of all the bets made during a single deal. This may be accomplished by having the highest-ranking poker hand or by making a bet that no other player calls.

In most forms of poker, one or more players must make forced bets (the amount varies by game). These bets are placed into the “pot” before cards are dealt. The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals them to the players, beginning with the player to their left. Each player must then decide whether to call or fold the cards they are given.

A winning poker hand consists of five cards. It can contain any combination of rank and suit, although a pair is usually preferred over other combinations. Depending on the game, there are also wild cards that can take the place of any other card in a hand.

Poker is typically played with chips, which stand in for money. This is done for a variety of reasons, including making the game easier to understand and play, and because chips are much easier to stack, count, keep track of, and make change with than cash is.