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The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players place chips (representing money) into a pot, with the object of winning a hand by betting against other players. While the outcome of any particular hand of poker is significantly influenced by chance, there is still much skill and psychology at work in the game.

A standard pack of 52 cards is used in poker, although some variant games use multiple packs or add wild cards. Each card is ranked one through five in rank (high to low) and there are four suits, though no suit is higher than another. A poker hand must consist of three or more cards of the same rank to win, unless it is a pair (two cards of the same rank) or a flush (five consecutive cards of the same suit).

Each player is required to make a forced contribution to the pot, called an ante. After the ante is placed, the dealer shuffles and then deals each player one card at a time, beginning with the player to his left. Players may choose to discard and draw additional cards from the bottom of the draw stack or they may keep their original cards. The first of many betting intervals then begins.

When it is your turn to act, you can either match the bet made by the player before you or raise it. When you raise, you must continue to bet in increments that increase your share of the pot until you are no longer raising or all players have checked.