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How to Play Poker

How to Play Poker


In poker, players place bets in the center of a pot, called the pot. Before the cards are dealt, players may be required to make an ante, or contribution to the pot. After a round of betting, players can look at their cards, and then discard up to three cards and take new ones from the top of the deck. The highest hand wins the pot. The betting continues in a clockwise fashion, until all players have either called or folded.

To play poker, two to nine people must sit down at an oval or circular table. The initial dealer must be chosen from the shuffled deck, usually the highest card. The player who is dealt the highest card becomes the initial dealer. If there is a tie, the dealer must continue the game, reshuffle the deck, or cut it. As the game proceeds, each player must place bets to determine if they have the highest-ranking hand.

In most poker variants, betting intervals are specified. For games with seven or more players, it’s recommended that all players buy poker chips. The lowest-value chip is the white chip, while a red chip is worth five or ten whites. A blue chip is worth two, four, or five reds. To begin a game, each player “buys in,” or contributes an equal number of chips to the pot.