Poker is a card game that can be played by two or more players. There are many variants of the game, but in most of them the object is to win a pot (the sum of all bets made during a deal) by having the highest-ranking poker hand. To do this, each player places chips into the pot (representing money, for which poker is almost invariably played) according to a betting scheme.

Before the cards are dealt, each player must place an ante. Depending on the game, this may be done in several rounds, and in some cases the players may also choose to discard and draw additional cards. The cards are then gathered into the center of the table, where they can be seen by the other players. Each player then has the opportunity to raise or fold his or her bets.

The most common poker hands are pairs, three of a kind, four of a kind, straights, and flushes. A pair consists of two matching cards, three of a kind has three cards of the same rank, and a straight is five consecutive cards of the same suit.

While there is a large element of luck in poker, most professional players understand that the long-term results are based on skill. This includes a combination of knowledge about the game, psychology, and strategy. In addition, poker requires the ability to evaluate a situation and determine when to put more money toward a possible winning hand and when to stop. Just says that this skill is useful in both poker and in business: “You have to be able to make the decision to take risks, but you have to learn when you’re not going to get it back.”