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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 and skill, with the object of winning the pot, the sum of all bets made during one deal. The pot is won either by having the highest-ranking hand, or by making a bet that no other player calls. There are many variants of poker, and rules vary between them. Observe experienced players to learn the basic principles.

After the players have received their 2 hole cards, there is a round of betting that starts with the player to the left of the dealer. These are called blind bets, and they are mandatory to create an incentive for people to play.

Once the flop is dealt, there is another round of betting. Say “call” if you want to bet the same amount as the last person, or “raise” to add more money to the pot.

If you raise, the other players will call or re-raise. If they do not, you can fold – don’t keep betting money into a bad hand!

It is important to manage your bankroll and understand the risk you’re willing to take. It’s also important to be able to read your opponents’ reactions to help you decide what hands to play. Learn the strength of each poker hand, and try to get your opponent to commit more money to the pot when bluffing. This is known as pot control.