Poker is a card game played by two or more players and involves betting. It can be a very low-skill game, but as the bets get higher and more people get involved it becomes a more sophisticated game of chance and psychology.

A standard pack of 52 cards is used; in most variant games, jokers can be used as wild cards. Each card has a rank (high, low, club, spade or diamond) and a suit. The highest hand wins the pot. Players may bet that they hold the best hand, and opponents may call or raise the bet. Players who do not wish to bet may “drop” their hand by discarding it and leaving the table.

Each player must place a mandatory amount of chips into the pot (“buying in”) before any bets can be made. The amount of chips is usually determined beforehand. A white chip is worth one unit, or the minimum ante; a red chip is worth five whites; and a blue chip is worth either ten whites or twenty reds.

After each deal there is a round of betting, initiated by bets placed by the players to the left of the dealer. Then 3 more cards are dealt face up on the board (“the flop”) and another round of betting begins.

The best hands are pair, three of a kind and straight. A pair has two distinct cards of the same rank, three of a kind is three of the same rank and a straight is a sequence of five consecutive cards in suits. A high card can break ties, but the more distinctive the pair or three of a kind is, the better the hand.