Poker is a card game with many variants played worldwide. It is a game of chance, but skill is also involved. The main aim of the game is to win a “pot”—the sum of all bets made in a single round—by having the highest-ranking hand according to the particular variant’s rules. Players may raise or call the bets of other players, and they can also bluff. The most common types of poker hands are pairs, three of a kind, straights, and flushes.

A basic rule of poker is that the rank of a hand is determined in inverse proportion to its mathematical frequency; in other words, more unusual combinations are higher ranked than more usual ones. However, there are some exceptions. One Pair consists of two distinct cards of the same rank; Two Pairs consists of two pairs of different cards, and three of a kind is three matching cards of the same rank. A Flush consists of five consecutive cards of the same suit; and a Royal Flush is 10 through Ace of the same suit. Ties are broken by the highest card, but this is only true if no other hand qualifies.

The game can be played with any number of people, but a good number is 6 or more. The game can be played at home or in a casino, with either a full deck of cards or an empty one. To start the game an initial dealer is chosen by giving each player a card from a shuffled deck, and then the person clockwise to them cuts the deck.

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