Poker Information

Poker is a family of card games that share betting rules and usually 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 , 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 the amount bet so far and 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 folds 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.

With the 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 by their actions chosen based on probability and psychology.

The history of poker is the subject of some debate. One of the earliest known games to incorporate betting, hand rankings, and bluffing was the 15th century German game Pochspiel. Poker closely resembles the Persian game of As Nas, though there is no specific description of nas prior to 1890. In the 1937 edition of Foster's Complete Hoyle, R. F. Foster wrote: "the game of poker, as first played in the United States, five cards to each player from a twenty-card pack, is undoubtedly the Persian game of as nas." By 1990s some gaming historians including David Parlett started to challenge the notion that poker is a direct derivative of As Nas. There is evidence that a game called poque, a French game similar to poker, was played around the region where poker is said to have originated. The name of the game likely descended from the Irish Poca or even the French poque, which descended from the German pochen . Yet it is not clear whether the origins of poker itself lie with the games bearing those names. It is commonly regarded as sharing ancestry with the Renaissance game of primero and the French brelan. The English game brag clearly descended from brelan and incorporated bluffing . It is quite possible that all of these earlier games influenced the development of poker as it exists now.

Wikipedia, Poker, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poker (as of Apr 8, 2010)

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