Poker is a card game in which players place bets (representing money) into a central pot in order to compete for a winning hand. Players may raise their bets at any time during a hand, so long as they do not exceed the maximum amount permitted by the rules of the game being played. While the outcome of individual hands largely depends on chance, a player’s actions in raising and folding during a hand are chosen on the basis of expected value and game theory.

The game is played from a standard 52-card pack (with some variant games adding wild cards). The cards are ranked from high to low: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2. All poker hands contain five cards; the highest hand wins.

Before the deal, one or more players are required to make forced bets, usually an ante and a blind bet. The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals them out to the players one at a time, starting with the player on their right. The cards may be dealt face up or down, depending on the specific game.

As each betting interval begins, the player on the left of the button makes a bet. Players may match this bet or raise it. A player who matches a previous bet is said to call. A player who bets more than the previous raiser is said to raise. A player who does not make a bet is said to check.