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The Basics of Poker

Poker is one of the most popular card games in the world. It’s a game of chance that requires strategic thinking, good bluffing skills and luck. While many variations of the game exist, the basic mechanics remain the same: players bet chips and either win or lose them. Despite its popularity, there are some misconceptions about the game. This article will help you learn the basics of poker and dispel some myths that might be preventing you from getting into the game.

A round of betting begins after players are dealt two cards that they keep hidden from other players. There are usually 2 mandatory bets (called blinds) placed into the pot by players to the left of the dealer. These bets create an incentive for players to play their hands.

During the course of the hand, players can check (pass on betting), call (match a previous player’s bet), or raise (bet more than the last player). In most poker games the maximum amount that any player can raise is limited to double the size of the previous bet.

The highest value poker hand is a Royal flush, which includes all the highest ranking cards in one suit. Other high value hands include four of a kind, straight and three of a kind. A full house is a combination of three of the same rank card in different suits, and a pair is two matching cards of the same rank.