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Poker Basics

Poker is a card game in which players place bets and try to make the best hand. Players may also bluff, betting that they have a superior hand when in reality they do not. This can cause other players to call (match) the bet and thus lose.

A poker hand consists of five cards and the higher the combination, the more valuable the hand. A flush consists of 5 cards in consecutive rank, while a straight consists of 5 cards that skip around in rank but remain from the same suit. A three of a kind consists of 3 matching cards of one rank and 2 matching cards of another rank. A pair consists of two cards of the same rank and an unmatched card.

Each player starts the game with a fixed amount of chips and each bet is made in turn. A player may choose to Check, meaning they do not wish to bet more than the previous player; or they can Raise, increasing the amount they want to put into the pot. A player can also Fold, discarding their hand and removing themselves from the round.

Top poker players are known for being aggressive with strong hands. This is done in order to build the pot and also to chase off other players who might have a better hand than theirs. However, aggression must be used wisely and it is often a good idea to avoid bluffing unless it can be profitable.