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Player Options

Once the initial two cards are dealt, the player decides how to finish out the hand. He has the following options:
Hit Take another card or cards, in hopes of getting closer to 21. But if the player's total goes over 21, he "busts" and loses the bet. When the cards are dealt faceup, hand signals are used-the player signals a hit by pointing to his cards or scratching or waving toward himself.

Players are not allowed to touch the cards in a faceup game. The casino's reaction won't be as extreme as it was a couple of decades ago-dealers used to be instructed to slap the hand of a player who touched the cards! In an era with more inexperienced players, more competition, and more emphasis on customer service, that's changed. The first couple of times, you'll probably just get a warning not to touch the cards. Keep on doing it, though, and you may find yourself with an unwanted escort to the exit door.

When cards are dealt facedown, the player may pick up the cards with one hand. Signal a hit by scratching the table with the cards, being careful not to bend them.

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If You're Good Enough, Getting Staked Is Gravy
The best way to play poker with other peoples' money is only available to the very best players, so don't expect access to it anytime soon. A great player with a proven track record can often find investors, called backers, who are willing to front money to the star player in return for a significant percentage of his winnings (and often other fringe benefits like lessons from the star, or simply being seen with or associated with the star). To get a player into action in this manner is called staking him.
There are a great many variations on the staking game, and the best ones offer value both to the player and the backer.
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