Poker is a card game in which players place bets into a communal pot (the “pot”) according to the rules of the specific poker variant being played. The objective is to form a high-ranking poker hand, which wins the pot at the end of each betting interval. Players may also bluff, attempting to convince other players that they have a better hand than they actually do.

There are many different variants of poker, and each has its own unique rules. However, all poker games share some key elements. Generally, they are played with cards and chips, and are dealt out by a dealer. The dealer is typically the last player to act before the next round of betting begins.

During each betting interval, all players must place an initial amount of money into the pot before their cards are dealt. This is called the “ante.” In some games, a player may also choose to place additional chips into the pot during his turn. These additional chips are called “blinds.”

The highest ranking poker hands are a royal flush, straight, three of a kind, and pair. A royal flush contains four matching cards of the same rank, while a straight contains five consecutive cards of the same rank in one suit. A pair consists of two matching cards of the same rank, while three of a kind consists of three matching cards of one rank and two unmatched cards of another rank.