The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game played with a group of players. It is a game of chance, but the player who makes the best decision based on probability and other factors, will win over time. The game is widely considered to involve skill, and many professional players have made millions of dollars. There are several variants of the game, but all have the same basic rules.

Before the game begins each player must ‘ante’ some amount of money (the amount varies by game). This is placed into a central pot, known as the ‘pot’. The cards are then shuffled and the player clockwise to the left of the dealer cuts. The dealer then deals the players their cards. These can be either face up or face down depending on the game.

After the cards are dealt, a number of betting rounds begin. The player with the highest hand wins the pot. If more than one player has a high hand, then a showdown takes place where the hands are revealed and the winning hand is awarded to the winner.

The highest possible hand is a Royal Flush, consisting of a 10 through Ace of the same suit. The next highest is a Straight Flush, which is five consecutive cards of the same suit (but different ranks). A Full House consists of 3 matching cards of one rank, and 2 matching cards of another rank. A Pair is two cards of the same rank, and an unmatched card.

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