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The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played by two or more players. It is a game of chance, in which players place bets and then reveal their cards in a showdown. The game has several variations and is widely played in casinos, poker clubs, and at home.

Some games require players to make a forced bet before each round of betting begins, called an ante. This is often collected into a central pot. Each player then receives two cards face down—his hole cards—and one card faced up, beginning with the player to his left. A number of betting intervals follow, with the first bettor usually raising his bet to an established minimum.

As the game progresses, additional community cards are dealt onto the table during the second betting round, called the flop. These cards can dramatically change the strength of a hand and are revealed in the third betting round, called the turn. A final community card is dealt during the fourth betting interval, called the river.

During this time, it is important to pay close attention to your opponent. It is important to know what tells to look for and how to read them. For instance, if a player has their finger in their nose or is scratching their head it may indicate that they are nervous and are trying to hide the strength of their hand. Similarly, if a player stares down at their chips after the flop it may indicate that they are holding a strong hand.