Poker is a card game played with a group of players. It can be a competitive, strategic, and social game. Players wager money (usually chips) on the outcome of the hand. The game has many variants and may be played in a casino, home game or tournament. The history of poker is uncertain but it likely originated in the 17th century. Game historians believe that it may have evolved from a Persian game called As-Nas or as a European game of skill.

A player’s hand consists of five cards. A high card wins if no other combination can be made. Two pairs of cards are valued as equal to one another unless the highest pair is an ace. A straight is a run of cards in sequential order, regardless of suit. Three of a kind is valued higher than two pairs and lower than a flush.

Each player has a turn to bet in betting intervals, according to the rules of the specific poker game being played. After a player places his bet, he may not change it, except by raising. A player who raises a bet must call it, or fold.

The story of poker is not just the cards, but also the players and their reactions to each other. The by-play between the players can be as exciting as the cards themselves. It is important to know the tells of your opponents, which can be as simple as a facial expression or as complex as a gesture.