Poker is a family of card games played around the world. Its rules vary, but all involve one or more rounds of betting and a final showdown in which the highest hand wins.

Before the cards are dealt, each player puts an initial contribution into the pot, called an ante or bet. Depending on the rules of the particular game, this may be a fixed amount or a percentage of the total pot.

Once the cards are dealt, each player receives one face-down card and one face-up card. The first bettor then bets, the second bettor calls, and so on, until all players have had a chance to bet.

After the first betting interval, there is a break for a second round of dealing. The deal distributes the remaining face-up cards to all active players and there are further betting intervals, followed by a showdown in which each player shows their hole cards.

The aim of the game is to create the best hand from your two hole cards and the five cards on the table. The winning hand is the hand that uses the fewest of the seven cards available, with the highest value card.

A standard deck of 52 cards is used in most games. However, short packs of cards are used in some countries.

Each poker variant has its own specific rules, which govern the number of cards dealt and the betting intervals during a deal. Some variants, such as Texas hold’em, require that an ante be put into the pot before the cards are dealt.

Once the cards are dealt, the action begins with the players on the left of the dealer. The leftmost player puts in the small blind, which is usually one-half the minimum bet. The second player to the left of the dealer places in the big blind, which is usually twice as much as the small blind.

During the first betting interval, each player must either call (put in the same number of chips as the previous bet) or raise. If the last player to call does not, then he or she must drop, which means that they do not put any more chips into the pot and discard their hand.

In many Poker games, the minimum bet is a predetermined amount of chips. For example, a white chip is the lowest-valued chip and is worth whatever the minimum ante is; a red or blue chip is worth 5 or 10 or 20 or 25 whites, respectively.

A bet or raise is made by putting in the same number of chips as the player to the left of the previous bet, or by adding more than enough to make the total number of chips needed for the next player to call. The bet or raise is limited to the total amount of chips in the pot at the time of the bet or raise, unless the game is played using a “pot limit” system, which restricts any bet or raise to a maximum number of chips.

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