The Basics of Poker

Poker is a game of skill that is played in a variety of forms throughout the world. The object is to win the pot, which is the sum of all bets made by all players in a given hand.

In the early stages of the game, each player puts an ante (a small amount) into the pot. The dealer then deals two cards to each player and keeps them secret from the other players.

Once the cards are dealt, each player can choose whether to call (match) the ante, raise or fold. If a player calls the ante, he must show his cards to all other players, and the player with the best poker hand wins the pot.

The best poker hands contain a pair of one card rank, another pair and any fifth card of a different rank. They also must have at least two cards of the same suit or consecutive in rank.

Each betting interval ends when either all the chips are equalized or all the players have dropped out of the hand. In fixed-limit games, the limit is usually twice as high in each subsequent betting interval as before.

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