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The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players try to make the best possible hand using the cards they are dealt. It is a casino game with many variations, but all of them share some basic characteristics.

The Game

Several players (usually up to 14) sit around a table, and one player is the dealer. The dealer shuffles and deals the cards, usually starting with the player to the left.

The Deal

After the first deal, a betting round begins. Each betting interval ends when a player either puts in exactly as much money as the previous player or drops.

The Cards

A standard deck of 52 cards is used; in some games, wild cards are also dealt. These are often jokers and can take on any suit, and they may be ranked higher or lower than the corresponding card in the player’s hand.

The Hands

A poker hand is a five-card hand, containing a combination of one or more cards from the same rank and two or more unmatched cards. There are several types of hands, including full houses, flushes, straights, three of a kind and two pair.

The Tells

In the poker game, players use unconscious habits and body language to reveal information about their hand. These “tells” can be as simple as a change in posture or as complex as a gesture. To develop these instincts, practice and watch others play to understand how they react in certain situations.