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Official Poker Rules

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Poker is a card game where individuals compete for an amount of money (or chips that represent currency) contributed by the players themselves. This amount is known as the pot. The object of the game is to minimize losses with poor hands and maximize winnings with good ones. This requires an element of skill as players attempt to predict the behavior of their opponents. It also involves bluffing, which is generally discouraged but permitted under certain conditions.

Official poker games are played with a standard deck of 52 cards. These are ranked as follows: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. The suits are spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. Some games may add wild cards, which can take on whatever suit and rank the possessor desires. In most cases, the dealer deals all the cards face down and players can choose to call, raise or fold their hand.

The rules of a poker game typically require the players to contribute an amount of money, called an ante, to the pot before betting can begin. The size of the ante is determined by the rules of the particular game and may be adjusted as the game progresses. During each betting interval, the player who makes the best Poker hand wins the pot.

In tournament poker, the number of chips a player has in play determines his or her standing in the competition. Normally, a player buys in for a predetermined amount of tournament chips and the competition ends when one player has accumulated all of the chips in play. The remaining prize money is then redistributed among the players based on their position in the tournament.

When the dealer deals a hand, each player receives two cards, which are known as their hole cards. These remain concealed throughout the hand. A third card is then dealt to the table and is called the flop. The players now decide whether to check, bet or raise their hand. If they raise, they must match the bet made by the player to their left.

After the flop, the dealer draws another card and places it face up on the table. This is known as the river. Players now again decide to check, bet or raise their hands. The player with the highest five-card poker hand wins the pot.

In some poker games, a special fund, known as the kitty, is established by the players. Typically, players contribute a low-denomination chip into the kitty each time they raise a bet. The kitty is used to pay for additional decks of cards, food and drinks. When a game ends, the kitty is distributed to all players who were in the hand. Unlike some other card games, players are not allowed to take their share of the kitty back if they leave the game before it ends. This rule prevents players from cheating the game. It is also common for the kitty to be divided equally between players who remain in the hand when there are more than one player raising a bet.

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