# How to Play Poker

Probably the best known card game, Poker is played by a group of people around a table. Each player has two cards and the goal is to make the highest-ranking hand. The best hand wins the pot. There are several different variants of this game. It is commonly played using a standard 52-card pack, but jokers are occasionally added.

Players may also bet if they believe they have the best hand. If they don’t, they can fold or check. When the cards are dealt, the first player to the left of the dealer is the “first to act.” He is responsible for making the first bet. The initial dealer cuts the deck and shuffles it. The deck is passed to the next dealer.

After the shuffle, each player is dealt two cards. If a pair of aces is dealt to a player, he is said to hold a “wild card.” This card is a blank, but it can be used to make a five of a kind. A five of a kind beats a straight flush. This is sometimes broken by a secondary pair, but it can be broken by a wild card, too. The five of a kind is the most powerful hand.

Each player in the game is required to put a certain amount of chips into the pot. If a player folds, he loses all of the chips in the pot. If he calls, he adds more chips to the pot. The bet is usually a small one, ranging from \$1 to \$5. The chips are usually made of ceramic or plastic, but they can be swapped for cash. Normally, the chips are counted to determine who is the winner.

Once the cards have been dealt, the next step is to decide whether to “call,” raise, or fold. If a player chooses to call, he must put in the same number of chips as the players before him. If a player chooses to raise, he may add 14 chips to the pot.

Each of these bets are limited to a certain amount of chips, so it is important to know what the maximum limit is for each bet. If the next player bets \$100, then the pot is worth \$110. If the next player bets \$10, then the pot is worth \$80. If the next player bets \$20, then the pot is worth \$60. If the next player bets \$40, then the pot is worth \$30.

The first player to the left of the dealer is called the “small blind.” The big blind is the second bet. The player who is in the big blind is obligated to make the first bet. The big blind is often a very large amount, so it gives the other players something to chase.

When the betting is complete, the cards are turned face up. The player with the highest ranking poker hand is the winner. The player with the lowest ranking hand is the loser. If there are no other players in the last round of betting, the hand reaches a showdown. If there are other players in the final round of betting, the hand is still alive.

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