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Basic poker rules require players to bet on their hands to win the pot that can facilitate typically two to ten poker players. Poker rules are defined by the type of poker being played and the limits and stakes that are allowed at the table. Each unique poker variation has its own set of poker rules, and while some games are often very similar to others, they are also often very different. What makes all poker games related though is the unique hand ranking system that is used to value the resulting five-card poker hands that are the end result of most poker variations.

Playing Poker

In general most poker rules require that a poker game begin with a forced bet of either an ante or a blind, followed by the betting action of each player, around the table to the left, until one betting round is complete by every player having the opportunity to act. Within a betting round, every player must either match the previous bet, raise, or fold. If all players but one fold, the remaining player, whether his hand ranks or not, wins the pot. Otherwise, a showdown takes place in which players show their cards, and the best hand wins. General poker rules also dictate that between each hand, the dealer position rotates around the table, but in land-based and online casinos: , the house dealer handles the cards. A dealer button is passed around the table to indicate which player is in the dealer position for each hand. This is important because the poker rules regarding betting structure for many games are determined by the dealer’s position.

While poker is a gamblers game, many argue that due to poker rules that govern the game, the outcome of the game is based on the players own unique choices and actions throughout the game. Because of this, poker is more a game of probability, skill, and psychology, than a game of pure chance.

Variations of Poker Rules

The underlying object of all poker rules is to win the pot by acquiring the best possible ranking poker hand, or the worst as in hi/lo games. But not all poker games are carried out in the same manner. There are multiple variations of poker, all of which fall under three poker families.

The oldest and most basic family of poker is straight poker. The poker rules for straight poker are rather simple. A complete hand of cards is dealt to players and all betting takes place in one round, including raising and re-raising. Straight hands consisting of five cards are played at showdown. Straight poker is the oldest of poker families, but more common and complex variations of poker are played more frequently today.

The second family of poker is Stud Poker, for which the poker rules are more complicated. In Stud Poker, cards are dealt to players in a specific combination of face-up and face down rounds, called streets. Each street is followed by a betting round. The most popular of Stud poker is Seven-Card Stud, in which the poker rules require each player to be dealt a combination of three face-up cards and four face-down cards throughout five streets/betting rounds. At the end, as in typical poker rules, the best five-card poker hand wins. Community Poker, which is actually a variation of Stud, has become the most popular poker style, worldwide. In Community Poker, rules state that players are dealt a partial hand of cards, face-down, and a number of community cards face-up (typically five) in the middle of the table. All players can then use these cards, along with the hole cards in their hands, to make the best five-card poker hand, according to the poker rules.

 Finally, Draw Poker, is another family of poker games, the most popular being Five-Card Draw Poker. Rules for this game state that each player is dealt their entire five-card hand face-down, and then have the opportunity to improve their hands by discarding cards from their hands and being dealt new ones, after betting. Again, the best five-card hand wins.

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