General Rules of Poker

In poker, players
bet on the value of their hand (the cards they hold) by placing bets into a
combined pot. The winner is either the player with the best hand according to
an established hand rankings
structure
, or the last remaining player after all others have folded their
hand.

A poker hand
always comprises five cards, but in some variants
a player has more than five to choose from.

There are various
forms of poker based on similar playing rules. Here are some of the more
popular variants:

Draw Poker

Players each
receive five or more cards, all of which are hidden. One or more of these cards
can be replaced a certain number of times.

Stud Poker

Players each
receive five or more cards; some cards are dealt face up, one at a time, and
displayed to other players at the table. Players cannot discard or replace any
cards in stud poker and part of a player’s hand in stud is exposed.

Community Card Poker

Players combine
individually dealt cards with community cards, which are dealt face up and
shared by all players. Each player combines the community cards with their own
face down cards to make the best five card poker hand they can. The most
popular variations of community card poker are Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hold’em.

Game Play

In casual play,
the right to deal a hand usually rotates among the players and is marked by a
token called a button or buck.

In casino play, a
house dealer handles the cards for each hand, but the button is rotated
clockwise around the player circle, marking a nominal dealer to determine the
order of betting.

One or more
players make forced bets, either in the form of a blind or an ante, to create an initial
pot.

After the first
deal of a hand, several rounds of betting take place. Between rounds, players’
hands develop when they are dealt extra cards, or replace cards already dealt
to them, depending on the rules of the game
variant
being played.

At any time
during a round, if one player places a bet that no-one else calls, the bettor
immediately claims the pot.

Cards do not have
to be shown, presenting the opportunity to bluff. Bluffing is an integral
feature of poker play that greatly increases the complexity of the game.

If more than one
player is still in the hand after the last betting round, there is a showdown
where all remaining players reveal their hands and the best hand wins the pot.

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