rule of poker
card games that share betting rules and usually (but not always) hand rankings. Poker games differ in how the cards are dealt, how hands may be formed, whether the high or low hand wins the pot in a showdown (in some games, the pot is split between the high and low hands), limits on bets and how many rounds of betting are allowed. In most modern poker games, the first round of betting begins with some form of forced bet. The action then proceeds to the left. Each player in turn must either match the maximum previous bet or fold, losing all further interest in the hand. A player who matches a bet may also raise, increasing the bet. The betting round ends when all players have either matched the last bet or folded. If all but one player fold on any round, the remaining player collects the pot without showing his hand. If more than one player remains in contention after the final betting round, the hands are shown and the winning hand takes the pot.
Many poker players feel that this betting system distinguishes poker from gambling games. With the minor exception of initial forced bets, money is only placed into the pot voluntarily by a player who, at least in theory, rationally believes the bet has positive expected value. Thus while the outcome of any particular hand is determined mostly by chance, the long-run expectations of the players are determined mostly by their actions chosen based on probability and psychology.
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