A card game with many variations, Poker is played between two or more players and involves betting on a hand of cards. It is widely considered to be a game of skill, with the ability to read tells (nonverbal cues) essential.

The game is usually played with a standard 52 card deck and may include one or more jokers, which act as wild cards. The game can be played with any number of players from two to 14, although ideally it is played by six or seven. A player begins the hand by passing his or her cards out, in a set order, to each player. Players must then decide whether to bet, call, or raise (i.e. increase the amount of money bet by raising their own).

During the betting phase, the value of a hand is determined by its mathematical frequency; the rarer the combination, the higher the rank of the hand. The game can be won by a player with the highest hand, or if all other players fold their hands. Players may also bluff, placing bets that they hold superior hands while exposing their cards to other players.

The game can be a useful tool for learning how to read body language, which is a vital component of good poker play. Being able to pick up on subtle signals, such as whether someone flinches when they are called upon, can give players an edge in a hand and in life.