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The Basics of Poker

The Basics of Poker


Poker is a family of card games where players wager money on which hand is best according to the rules of that specific game. Most forms of the game use a standard deck of cards, usually containing four of each of the four suits: hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds.

The player with the highest-ranking poker combination wins. This combination is called the “hand.” The highest hand breaks ties, and is typically one of a pair or better.

A hand that includes two distinct pairs of cards and a fifth card is called a flush, while a hand with three different pairs is called a straight. A five of a kind is a very strong hand and is often used to break ties, as are duplicate cards on the board (e.g., ace-ace-7-4).

Various forms of the game have different rules, some of which require a minimum hand to make the first bet before the draw; others have a maximum number of raises allowed during any betting interval. In most forms, the dealer button (a token or plastic disk in live poker) rotates clockwise among the players to indicate a nominal dealer.

The player with the best hand wins the pot, which is the aggregate of all bets made by all players in any one deal. In a cash game the betting is continuous until one person has all of his or her chips or everyone folds. Alternatively, players can choose to “check,” which means they do not want to bet at that moment.