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The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game played by two or more players. The object is to win the pot, which is the sum of all bets placed during a deal. This is achieved by either having the highest poker hand or, in many variants, by betting successfully against other players. The latter is often done by raising bets, in the hope that opponents will assume they have a strong hand and fold. This strategy is known as bluffing.

The game is generally played around a circular table. An initial dealer is chosen by giving each player a card from the shuffled deck; whoever has the highest card becomes the first dealer. Ties are broken by a repeat deal.

Before a hand begins, each player places an ante into the pot. Then they are dealt five cards, and the betting begins.

Once the betting has finished, the remaining players participate in a showdown by showing their cards to all. The player with the best hand wins the pot. During the showdown, players may also bluff. This is a good way to convince other players that you have a strong hand and make them raise their own bets.

The exact origin of poker is not certain, but it exploded in popularity in America around the 19th century. The game was likely developed from a variety of earlier vying games, including Belle (French, 17th – 18th centuries), Flux and Trente-un (German, 16th – 17th centuries), Post and Pair (English and American, early 19th century) and Bouillotte and Brag (French and English, late 18th – early 19th century). Joseph Cowell reported that the game was well established in 1829.