Poker is a card game in which players compete to win a pot, the sum of all bets made during a single deal. A player can win the pot by having the highest-ranking hand or by betting aggressively so that other players fold their hands. The game can be played by 2 to 14 players. In most forms of poker, one or more players must make forced bets, called the ante and blind bets. After the ante and blind bets have been placed, the dealer shuffles the cards and deals them face down to each player. Each player has two cards, called hole cards, and may act at his discretion by folding, calling the bet of the player to his left, or raising his own bet. Then the dealer “burns” one of the cards and deals three community cards, called the flop.

Then the players can either call the flop or raise it with their own bets. If a player calls, he must place chips (representing money, for which poker is almost always played) in the pot equal to or higher than the amount of the bet that preceded it.

Those who want to win more often should bet aggressively. They should especially bet when they have a premium opening hand, such as a pair of Kings or Queens. This will force weaker hands to fold, and it will raise the value of the pot. However, it is important to build up a comfort level with risk-taking. Taking too many risks in low-stakes situations can backfire.

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