Poker is a card game in which players place bets (in chips or cash) to win the pot, which consists of all bets placed during a hand. The game is played with a minimum of two players and may have many variants. The game involves betting on the strength of one’s own hand and also bluffing, with the aim of winning more money than one might lose.

In most poker games, each player must first make a forced bet, typically the amount of the ante. The dealer then shuffles the cards, cuts them, and deals each player two cards face down and one face up. After each round of betting, the players show their hands and the highest ranked hand wins the pot. There are often additional side pots, with different winners in each, based on how much a player has bet.

After each player has made a bet, he must decide whether to call or raise it. To call, a player must match the previous bet or raise it by at least an equal amount. If a player raises, other players may choose to fold or call.

The most common poker hands are pair, three of a kind, four of a kind, and straight. Each of these hand types has a different rank and value, with the most valuable being a royal flush (a 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of each suit in sequence). There are also lower-ranked hands such as a full house and a flush.