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The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game where you bet on the cards that you hold. It is a social game that requires skill and strategy to win.

There are many variations of Poker, but the basic rules of play are the same. The cards are dealt out by the dealer, and players take turns betting on their hands.

The winning hand is the highest card of five cards, not including the player’s own cards. The hand can be a pair, three of a kind, four of a kind, straight, flush, full house or straight flush.

If a hand ties, the players outside the tie break following the High Card rules. If there are two hands that qualify, the higher-rank hand wins.

During the betting rounds, each player may be required to make a contribution to the pot, called an ante. This amount is based on the stakes of the game and usually is the minimum bet in the game.

Another variation of the ante is the big blind, in which the player sitting two positions to the left of the dealer must post a certain amount before a hand is dealt. This amount is generally 1.5 times the ante, or doubled in games with fixed-limit betting limits.

During each betting round, the first player to make a bet is called the “last bet.” If the last bettor bets more than the previous bet, that bet is said to be raised. A player may also check, which means that they remain in the hand but do not make a bet. When a player raises, every other player must call the new bet or fold their hand.