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The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players place bets on whether their cards form one of the highest possible poker hands. The game is generally played with a deck of 52 cards, cut at least once. In some forms, players may also exchange cards, which can alter the strength of a hand. The object of the game is to win the pot, the sum of all bets made in a hand. This may be done by either having the best poker hand or by betting successfully against other players. A player’s bluffing skills can also be very helpful in winning the pot.

Each player begins by putting a bet into the pot (the amount varies by game, our games typically start at a nickel). A player may either call, raise or fold his hand. When betting gets around to a player who has a good hand, it is often wise to raise the stakes in order to force weaker hands out of the game and to increase the overall value of the pot.

Besides the high poker hand, there are other standard hands such as four of a kind, three of a kind, straight, flush and pair. Ties are broken by the highest unmatched card or by secondary pairs.