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The Basics of Poker

The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game of chance, skill and strategy. The outcome of a hand depends on the player’s choices of bet, raise and fold. This is a competitive game where the players make decisions on the basis of probability, psychology and game theory.

Game Overview

The game begins with a deal of cards from which each player receives one card face-up and another facedown. The player who has the lowest hand starts the game, and play continues clockwise around the table until all players have had a chance to bet or fold.

Each betting interval (or round) begins with a player to the left making a bet, and each player in turn must call that bet by putting into the pot at least as many chips as they were called for or raise the amount of their bet; if they don’t, they drop (“fold”), retaining the bets made and losing any further involvement in the game.

After a betting interval, the remaining players show their hands and decide who has the best hand. The highest hand wins. Some games have wild cards which can take on any suit and rank they desire, but most poker games are played using standard decks of 52 cards.