Poker is a card game in which players wager money (or chips) on the outcome of a hand. The game has many variations, but all involve betting and a showdown where the best hand wins. It is a game of chance, but skill plays a large part in the long run. Players can also bluff, which helps to deceive other players into thinking they have a strong hand.

Before each hand, one or more players place forced bets, called blind bets or antes, into the pot. The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals them to each player, either face up or down, depending on the variant of poker being played. Players are then given the option to raise their bets, or not call them. If a player calls, their cards are shown and the best hand wins the pot.

The highest-ranking poker hand is a royal flush, which includes a 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of the same suit. Other high-ranking hands include straights (5 consecutive cards of the same rank), 3 of a kind (2 cards of the same rank, plus 2 unmatched cards), and pair (3 cards of the same rank, but different suits). The rules of poker vary slightly from one game to another, and some variations include additional betting rounds and side pots.