Poker is a card game played by two or more players. It is usually a game of chance, but players can also make strategic decisions based on probability, psychology, and game theory. The object of the game is to win the pot, which is the sum of all bets placed during a hand. Players place bets by placing chips (representing money) into the pot before they see their cards. These bets may be forced (in the form of an ante or blind bet) or voluntarily placed by a player who believes the bet has a positive expected value, or is trying to bluff other players for various reasons.

The dealer shuffles the cards, the player on their right cuts, and the dealer deals each player one card at a time. Usually there are several betting intervals between deals, and the cards in each player’s hand develop during these rounds. The player with the highest poker hand wins the pot.

A high poker hand is made up of a pair or better. A pair is two cards of the same rank. A flush is 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. A straight is a series of five cards that run in order but do not wrap around (such as 5-6-7-8-9). A royal flush is an ace high straight, the best natural hand. Ties are broken by the highest poker hand or, if no hands qualify as high, by the highest card.