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Poker is a card game in which each player makes a bet by placing chips into the pot. Players may choose to call (match the highest previous bet), raise (increase the previous bet), or fold. If a player has a strong hand, they can also bluff in order to force weaker hands out of the game.

The rules of poker vary between games and between casino gambling venues, but the basic game is always played with a group of people around a table. Before the game begins, each player must buy in for a specified amount of money. Depending on the rules, this amount may be in the form of cash or chips.

During the course of a hand, each player is dealt five cards. Once the initial deal is complete, there is one betting interval (beginning with the player to the left of the dealer). If a player wants to stay in the hand but doesn’t want to place a bet, they can “check.”

The highest standard poker hand is a royal flush, which consists of five consecutive cards of the same suit. Other common poker hands include a straight, four of a kind, and two pair. Ties in poker are broken by the highest unmatched cards or secondary pairs (in a full house). It is considered bad form to talk to other players at the table while you’re not holding a hand. This gives away information, distracts the other players, and can lead to mistakes.