Poker refers to a family of different games that share a set of rules and, usually, hand rankings. While they differ in the number of cards played and basic playing details, the cards are generally shuffled and dealt in a clockwise direction. Generally one or more players are obligated to place a forced bets, known as an ante or a blind bet. If, at some point in the game, a player calls, or matches the ante, and the other players fold, the game ends immediately and the last player standing wins regardless of the hand he holds.
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At the end of the betting round, if more than one player remains, the players reveal their hands in what is called a showdown. The hands are judged according to the generally accepted hierarchy of poker hands. The winner takes the kitty. Most poker hands consist of five-card hands, although some variations exist. Hands for some variations can be as small as two cards, and for others may have thirteen cards. In most cases, the goal is to ensure that the opponent is not able to guess what is in your hand, and to remain the last player standing. An experienced player will watch the cards that have been played and calculate what your opponents are likely holding. Using that information, a player will calculate the odds of winning with their current hand or winning by coercing others to fold. If neither of these seem feasible, the player will fold and minimize his losses.
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