Poker is a game of chance played with cards. There are many variations of the game, but there are some key aspects that remain largely the same across them all.

The game begins with one or more players making forced bets, called an ante or blind bet (often both). After these bets are made, each player is dealt a set of cards.

Betting rounds follow, with each betting interval involving a different set of players. At the end of each betting round, all of the bets are gathered into a central pot.

A hand comprises five cards. A winning hand is one that beats all other hands. In some variants, players may bluff by betting that they have the best hand even when they do not, in which case they lose.

Rules vary widely among casinos and card rooms, but there are some basic principles that apply to nearly all forms of poker.

First, each player is dealt a set of two cards face-down and one face-up. The player to the left of the small blind is first to act in this and every succeeding betting round by folding, checking or raising their bet.

After the initial deal, a number of betting rounds are held until either all of the players fold or all of the cards are revealed and the hand is shown. In this final round, the hand with the highest ranking is awarded the pot.

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