Poker is a card game in which players wager against each other and the dealer. The game is a skill-based game that requires an understanding of probability and statistics. It also requires the ability to bluff in order to win pots when opponents hold superior hands. The game has many variants, but all are based on five cards and a showdown.
Before the cards are dealt, a player places an initial contribution to the pot called an ante or a pair plus wager. After the ante is placed, the dealer deals three cards to each player. Each player decides whether to play their hand (put a bet that is at least as large as the ante) or fold. Optimum strategy suggests playing any hand of value greater than Queen, Six or Four and folding all other hands.
In each betting interval a player, as determined by the rules of the specific poker variant being played, may either call the bet (put chips in the pot equal to or higher than the amount raised by the player before him) or raise it (put chips into the pot that are at least twice the amount of the previous player’s contribution). Players must always put in enough chips to cover their own raising.
A poker hand consists of five cards and must rank high to be the winning hand. The highest ranking poker hand is five of a kind (Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, etc). In cases where the poker hands have the same rank, the highest high card wins the tie. Other possible poker hands include two distinct pairs of cards and a fifth card that is not an Ace (i.e. one pair, a straight or a flush). The high card is sometimes used to break ties when no other cards are available.