The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played between two or more players. It is a game of skill and strategy, but the element of chance plays a role in each hand. The goal is to win a pot, or the sum total of bets in any one deal.

Each player buys in for a set number of chips, typically equal to the minimum ante or bet in the particular game. A white chip, for example, is worth one unit; a red chip is worth five whites; and a blue chip is usually worth 10 or 20 whites. A dealer is chosen to shuffle and deal the cards, and to place bets for each player in turn. A player can choose to fold his or her hand at any time, or to continue betting until the end of the hand.

Once all players have 2 hole cards, a round of betting begins. The players to the left of the dealer place mandatory bets, called blinds, into the pot. This ensures that there is always a pot to compete against.

After the flop, another card is dealt face up. A second round of betting begins, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. During the betting rounds, each player must decide whether to call or raise the bet.

After the “river,” one more community card is revealed and a final round of betting takes place. At the end of each hand, all remaining players reveal their cards and the highest-ranking hand wins the pot.

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