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The cards that a player receives from the dealer in the first round (e.g. pre-flop), without taking into account the community cards or the drawed cards (in the case of Draw poker variant).

In most cases, the starting is completely hidden from the other players (except 1 card in the case of Stud games).

As opposed to the starting hand, a "playing hand" is the best 5-card combination that a player has.

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