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The Basics of Poker

The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game of chance and risk that involves betting chips. Players may raise, check, call or fold in accordance with their strategy, adding money or chips to an ever-increasing pot. The game has a wide variety of variations, but its basic mechanics remain the same. Players must read their opponents’ bets to see whether they are calling, raising or bluffing and make decisions accordingly.

Each player has two cards, known as hole cards, which they keep hidden from their opponents. After the blind or ante are placed, the cards are dealt in three stages: a series of three community cards, known as the flop, followed by an additional single card, called the turn and finally a final card, the river. The players then reveal their cards and the winner is the player with the highest hand.

Besides the main pot there may be side pots. The winner of a side pot is determined by comparing the players’ highest cards in successive order. For example, a five-card straight with matching suits wins over a four-card flush.

Typically, players place chips into the pot in equal increments. Each chip represents a specific amount of money. A white chip, or the lowest-valued chip, is worth one dollar while a red, blue or other colored chip is worth 20, 25 or 50 dollars. Each player also has a stack of chips, which they can use to raise or lower their bets.