Poker is a card game where players place chips (representing money) into a pot when they call a bet. The highest hand wins the pot. A player may also bluff, placing bets when they have a weak hand in order to win the pot by tricking other players into calling their bluff. The game has many variants, but all of them share certain core elements.

The game is based on probability and psychology, with a heavy dose of luck. However, over the long run skill can mitigate the effects of luck. The player’s actions are chosen on the basis of their expected value and are determined by a combination of strategy, psychology, and game theory.

A standard pack of 52 cards is used for the game. A shuffle is performed and the cards are dealt to the players, one at a time starting with the player to the left. After the first deal there is a round of betting based on 2 mandatory bets (called blinds) put into the pot by the players to their left.

Once all the players have 5 cards, a final round of betting occurs, called the river. The best hand takes the pot, which is made up of all the bets from each of the previous rounds. A flush contains five consecutive cards of the same suit, while a straight consists of 5 cards that skip around in rank but are all from the same suit.