Poker is a card game with millions of fans. It requires attention to detail, engaging anecdotes and a grasp of the psychology of the game as well as its mathematics and strategy. The main objective is to win the “pot,” or the sum of all bets made in one round. Often this pot includes the money players put down as buy-ins at the table. The player with the highest five-card hand wins.

Each round in poker begins with a forced bet from some or all players, called an ante or blind bet. The dealer shuffles the cards, then deals each player two cards face down (hidden from other players). Each player may then decide whether to bet or fold.

Once betting is completed, 3 cards are dealt face up in the center of the table, known as the flop. These community cards are used to make each player’s final five-card hand. A second betting phase then commences.

Players reveal their hands and continue betting in each round until one player has the best poker hand. The winner of a round earns all bets made that round and often has special rules for dividing the pot.

The cards in a poker hand are ranked according to their category: Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 are high; 2, 3, 4, 5 are low. A hand with at least three distinct pairs beats any other combination, including a straight or flush. A high card is the highest possible hand and breaks ties in cases of identical hands.