Poker is a card game with several variants. It can be played by two or more players and requires a significant amount of betting. A player’s aim is to make the best five-card “hand” using a combination of their own two cards and the five community cards. The highest hand wins the pot. A player may also win by making a bet no one else calls, known as a bluff.

There is a large literature on the strategy of poker, with different authors advocating various strategies. Despite the many differing approaches, there are some general principles that apply to all forms of the game.

The earliest evidence of the game dates from the late 1700s or early 1800s, when it became popular as part of the American frontier culture of cowboys and gamblers. It may have evolved from three-card brag, a game of British origin, or possibly from the similar game of Primero.

During each betting interval, a player must place chips into the pot equal to or greater than the number of chips placed by the player immediately to his left in order to remain in the game. A player may also choose to raise the stakes, known as raising a bet, but must continue to do so until another player either calls his bet or folds his hand. A player who cannot call a bet must “drop” out of the pot and forfeit any chips he has already contributed to it.

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