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The Basics of Poker

The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game where players compete to make the best five-card hand using their own two cards and the five community cards. The highest hand wins the pot, which is all the chips bet so far.

Players play poker in a number of different ways, from casual games at home to professional tournaments. The smallest tournaments are called locals or weeklies, and are typically held in bars, community centers, or even university campuses. These events are where many new players hone their skills. They often start out as informal groups of friends who organize a competition to give structure to friendly rivalry.

Each deal of poker starts with a round of betting. Before the first player sees their cards, the players to her left must put in a mandatory bet of $1 (these are called blinds). Each subsequent player may choose to raise this bet by up to four times. If a player doesn’t wish to raise, they can choose to “call” the bet and put in their own chips, or they can “fold,” discarding their cards and leaving them out of the betting until the next deal.

The highest ranking hand in poker is a Royal Flush, consisting of 4 matching cards of the same rank and 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. A Straight is the second highest hand, followed by a Full House, and then a Two Pair. High cards are compared by looking at the rank of each player’s highest pair, and low pairs are ranked by comparing their lowest ranks.