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The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players wager money on the outcome of a hand. The highest-ranking hand wins the pot, or the amount of money placed in the betting pool. The game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards and may include wild cards or other special rules.

Each player puts in a small amount of money to begin the hand, called a bet. Then the action moves clockwise around the table. Each player must either call (match) the bet of the person before him or fold, losing his turn and all further involvement in the hand. Players may also bluff by betting that they have a superior hand when they have no such card.

While many aspects of the game have to do with luck, such as how many cards are dealt and the board runout, there is still a great deal of skill involved in poker. Position is especially important as the ability to act last in post-flop play will make your opponents less likely to bluff at you, which will increase your chances of winning. To maximize your advantage, follow the push-fold strategy by raising more hands from late position and calling fewer hands in early position than your opponents do. This will allow you to win more money than your opponents when the stakes are high.