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The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game that requires skill and strategy to win. While there are many different variations of the game, all involve playing with cards and chips (representing money). Players compete to make the best five card hand. Players are dealt two personal cards (sometimes called their hands) and then there are five community cards on the table (“the flop”). The goal of the game is to win the pot (all of the chips that have been bet so far) with your best five card hand. Depending on the rules of the game, you can draw replacement cards to improve your hand after the flop.

After the cards are dealt, each player can decide to call, raise or fold. To call, a player must place chips in the pot equal to the amount of the bet that was placed by the person to his or her left. To raise, a player must increase the amount of money that is being bet on the next betting interval, usually by saying “raise.”

The highest poker hand is a Royal Flush, which contains four matching cards of the same rank in one suit. A Straight is 5 consecutive cards of the same rank, but they may be from more than one suit. A Three of a Kind is 3 matching cards of the same rank, and a Pair is 2 unmatched cards of the same rank. Earlier vying games include Belle, Flux & Trente-un (17th – 18th centuries), Brag (18th century to present), and Bouillotte (19th century, French and American). These games have all contributed to the evolution of Poker.