How to Play Poker

A card game requiring both skill and luck, Poker can be played in cash games or tournaments. The goal is to win the pot – all of the bets placed on a deal – by having the highest-ranked hand or by betting aggressively and convincing other players to fold. Some players also use bluffing to gain the pot without having a strong hand.

Depending on the rules of your game, you may be required to place an initial amount of money into the pot before the cards are dealt. This is called the ante or blind. In fixed-limit games, a limit is usually set on how much players can raise in each betting interval. After the flop, there are usually one or more additional betting intervals. Once the final betting interval has concluded, all remaining players will show their cards and the player with the best hand wins the pot.

Before you start playing, shuffle and cut the deck several times to make sure all the cards are mixed up. Then the dealer will give each player five cards. Typically, the player on the left of the dealer is the first person to act. He or she can choose to “open” the betting by raising it or they can simply check and allow other players to act on their turn.

If another player raises and you decide to raise your own bet, say “I call” or “I raise.” You must always match the previous player’s bet in order to stay in the round.

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