Poker is a card game in which players bet money into a communal pot as they play. The aim is to have the highest-ranking hand when the cards are revealed at the end of the hand. The player with the best hand wins the pot. A winning hand is a pair of cards of the same suit, three of a kind, four of a kind, straight, flush, or full house.

In some variants, ties are broken by the highest unmatched cards or secondary pairs (in a full house). The earliest known reference to Poker is from 1836, but it likely developed from earlier games of similar nature. The game’s earliest ancestor is probably Poque, which appears under several names in the 16th – 19th centuries.

The turn to deal and the right to raise are passed clockwise from one player to the next. A player may shuffle the cards before dealing, and offer them for a cut to any opponent wishing to do so.

A significant part of the skill in poker is predicting opponents’ hands accurately enough to make long-term profitable decisions. This is achieved through a combination of probability and psychology. It is a major advantage of good poker players over weaker ones, and it can be learned through study and practice. Another important part of this strategy is reading your opponents’ tells, or non-verbal cues. These can include anything from eye contact and body language to gestures.