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The Basics of Poker

The basic rules of poker are simple: All players contribute a starting stake to the pot and receive one card, face down. Players may either raise their stake or “call” someone’s bet by adding additional chips. The player on the left of the dealer calls, which means increasing the stake to match the last raise. When the player on the right of the dealer calls, they raise their bet by adding more chips to the bet in front of them.


The ante is an initial bet that each player must make into the pot before the game begins. Typically, players are required to contribute a nickel to the pot prior to the start of the game. Once the cards are dealt, players may check or raise, and they will receive their hands. The betting period begins after each player has checked and raised their bets. The last player to check or raise their bet will win the hand.

The betting intervals in poker differ from one game to another. A player may be obliged to put in more chips than the other player has. If the bet is higher than the other player’s, the player will win the bet. If not, he will lose his chips in the pot. Several variations of poker have different betting periods. Usually, a player must place at least one chip into the pot each round, unless he wins a lot.