The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played between 2 to 14 players with the objective of winning a pot consisting of all bets placed in any one deal. It is believed that the game derives from a variety of earlier vying games including Belle (French, 17th and 18th centuries), Flux & Trente-un (German, 17th century), Post & Pair (English, early 19th century), Brelan (French, late 16th and early 18th centuries) and Bouillotte (late 18th to early 19th century, French and American).

Each player starts with two cards and must use them plus 5 community cards to make a “hand.” The player with the best hand wins the pot. Each player must place in the pot enough chips to equal the amount bet by the person before them.

A player may open betting by saying “raise.” When this happens, the other players can choose to call or raise the bet or fold their cards.

A hand is ranked based on its highest value card. High cards include ace, king, queen, and jack. A straight is a series of five consecutive cards of the same rank; for example, three sixes. Two pair is a hand that contains two matching cards, such as two jacks or two sixes. A flush is a series of five matching cards, including the ace. Bluffing is an important part of the game and can be done with words, gestures, and body language. A good poker player must know their tells, or unconscious habits that give away information about their hand.

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