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Poker is a card game that is played by two or more players. It consists of a series of betting rounds with raising and re-raising allowed. The winning hand is determined in a showdown at the end of the final betting round. The game can be played with a standard deck of cards or with specialized ones. The basic rules of the game are generally the same across variants.

A typical game begins with the player to the left of the dealer making a forced bet, called an ante. The dealer then shuffles the cards and cuts them. He deals each player a number of cards depending on the variant being played. The cards are dealt either face up or down, and may be replaced during the course of play.

The cards can be used to make a number of different poker hands, but the most common are one pair, three of a kind, four of a kind, and a straight. If more than one hand has a pair, the highest pair wins. If no pairs are formed, the highest single card breaks ties.

A straight is a five-card sequence in a suit. If more than one player has a straight, the higher card wins (five aces beats five kings, for example). If a player has both a straight and three of a kind, the four of a kind wins. If a straight ties with a high card, then the high card wins.