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Poker is a card game played with a standard pack of 52 cards (although some games use multiple packs or add wild cards). There are many different poker games, but the object in all is to win the pot, which is the total of all bets made on any one deal. A player may win the pot by having the highest poker hand, or he may win it by bluffing and forcing players with weak hands to call his bets.

The first step in playing poker is to shuffle the deck. After the shuffle, each player places two mandatory bets, called blind bets, into a central pot before being dealt two cards face down. There are then one or more betting rounds, depending on the specific game. Each round of betting is accompanied by a reveal of the player’s hand.

A poker hand is a combination of cards ranked in the following order: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1. Some games also include wild cards, which can take on whatever suit and rank their possessor desires.

The high card rule is used to break ties between hands. The best hand is a pair of distinct cards plus a five-card high card. The second-best hand is three of a kind, followed by four of a kind and then flushes. A player wishing to stay in the pot must raise his stake at least to the amount of the last raiser, and may also raise it further. If he is unwilling to do either, he must fold his hand.