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Poker is a popular card game that played as often at home with a group of friends, as it is on a table in a casino or in international tournaments. Around since the beginning of the 12th century it is now a widely popular card game for recreation as well as playing for money.

The aim of the game here is to win the pot. The pot is all the money that has been bet on that particular hand.

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Getting started

There are variants of the classic poker game: 5 card draw, 5 card stud, 7 card stud, Omaha Poker and the extremely popular, Texas Hold’em. All games use a 52 pack of cards with some variations when playing with the joker. Sometimes the joker is used as a wildcard.

When playing in a casino you’ll need to change your money for poker chips.

Rules

The cards are ranked from highest to lowest. Ace is the highest, (although sometimes used as a 1) then it continues, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

A poker hand contains 5 cards.

The highest hand wins the game.

After the opening bet you may either ‘call’ (match the bet) or ‘raise’ (increase from the last bet). The original better has the option to the ‘reraise’.

Stakes and bonuses

When betting, the limit depends on where you are playing and whom you are playing with. The standard poker rule states that raises must be equal to the amount of the previous players bet. To stay in the game you must bet. There may be betting round, or intervals, where card play is paused for players to bet. To make a bet, move your chips into the centre, or a designated area, called the pot (also known as the pool, or kitty) After the last betting round, the player with the highest hand wins the pot.

Possible card hands in poker are as follows:

Five of a kind – The highest possible hand, can only be played when the joker is in play.
Straight flush – This is known as a natural hand. These are progressive numbers all in the same suit.
Four of a kind – Four cards of exactly the same rank.
Full house – Three of a kind and one pair.
Flush – All the cards in one hand are of the same suit, any rank or number.
Straight – Five cards in order
Three of a kind – Three cards with any rank, but the other two cards are not a pair.
Two pair – Two pairs of cards, and the extra, the fifth card, is any rank
Pair – One pair in a hand and three extra cards.
High card – When no player has a pair or anything higher, then the highest-ranking card in a hand wins.

Safety, withdrawal

Folding. If you want out of the game all you need to do is fold. To fold is when you ‘throw your cards out’, but not literally, into the discard pile, or ‘the muck’. You can also verbally say ‘I fold’.

Where to play

You will find poker tables in every major city casino, and many of the smaller ones as well. Or you can set up your own poker game at home with a group of friends. Bet with small coins, peanuts, matches anything you like. It s great way to learn the game in a safe, non money betting environment, before you go to play for real money in a casino.

Those that do it well, often play in tournaments. The most famous poker tournament is the World Series of Poker (WSOP), which is held every year in Las Vegas by Caesars Entertainment, who owns a conglomerate of casinos and entertainment theatres in Las Vegas.