Poker is a card game that can be played with any number of people. The object of the game is to win the pot, which is the total amount of money that all players have bet during one deal. This may be done by having the highest-ranking poker hand, or by making a bet that no other player calls.

Each player places an initial amount of money into the pot before the cards are dealt. This is called the ante. Depending on the variant of poker being played, there may also be additional forced bets that must be made before any cards are dealt, called blinds or bring-ins.

The game of poker has a long and varied history. Its earliest contemporary references are found in the 1836 book Dragoon Campaigns to the Rocky Mountains by J. Hildreth, and the published reminiscences of Joe Cowell in thirty years passed among the players in England and America (1843).

There are many different poker variants, but most involve a betting round after each new card is dealt. The most common of these are draw poker, stud poker, and lowball poker. Each has its own rules of play.

In the game of poker, each player is dealt two cards and aims to make the best five-card hand using these and the five community cards. The best hand wins the pot. Ties are broken by the highest unmatched cards or by secondary pairs (three of a kind and a pair in full house and straight, for example). The game can be played with any number of players from 2 to 14. The ideal number is 6.

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