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The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game with betting that requires skill and strategy. It can be played between two players or many more, as is the case in Las Vegas tournaments. In most cases the object of the game is to win the pot, which is the sum of all the bets placed during one deal. The pot may be won by a player with the highest ranking hand or by bluffing others into folding their hands.

The rules of poker are complex and vary greatly from one variation to the next. Typically, the game is played with a standard 52-card pack, including one or two jokers. The deck is shuffled and cut several times before being dealt. A dealer deals the cards to each player, starting with the person to his or her left. Each player must place a bet into the pot by either calling it or raising it. Players may also check, meaning they will stay in the game without placing any chips into the pot.

The high-ranking hands in poker are straights, flushes, three of a kind and two pair. A pair contains two cards of the same rank, while a straight is five consecutive cards of the same suit (such as clubs, diamonds, hearts or spades). A flush includes a king, queen and ace of the same suit. A full house consists of three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another rank, while a straight flush includes five consecutive cards from more than one suit.