Poker is a card game in which players bet money on the outcome of a single hand. It is played with two or more cards and a variety of betting structures and rules. In some variations, there are forced bets; others allow players to raise or re-raise. The object of the game is to win the pot, which consists of all bets made during one round. This can be accomplished by having the best poker hand or by bluffing.
The game can be played with any number of players, but the ideal number is six or more. The cards are dealt face up or down, depending on the variant being played. The turn to deal and the turn to bet passes clockwise from player to player. In most cases, the dealer must shuffle the pack after every deal and offer it to the player on his right for a cut.
The best poker hands are pairs, three of a kind, four of a kind, straights and flushes. Although poker has a large element of luck, most professional players understand that the long term results are based on skill. They combine poker knowledge with psychology and game theory to make the most of their chances of winning.