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The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game that involves betting between players and requires a combination of skill, psychology and mathematics. The game is played by professionals and amateurs, at home and at casinos and land-based gambling establishments, as well as online.

The game begins when the dealer shuffles the deck and cuts it once or twice. A player then places a bet and the players act in turn clockwise around the table. The player with the highest ranked card is said to be in the hand. If more than one person has the highest ranking card, they are said to have a tie. The suits, in ascending order, are spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs (highest to lowest).

In the first round of betting, called the preflop, each player receives two cards face down and then puts a bet into the pot. The player that has the highest value hand wins the pot.

After the preflop round a third card is placed face up on the table, which is called the flop. Players may bet, call or fold on this card. If the player with the best value hand continues in the hand he is said to be in position and will be the last to act before the river is dealt.

Playing in position versus your opponents is key to a good poker strategy. By playing in position you can see your opponents bets before you have to make your decision and this will help you to evaluate their strength of a poker hand.