Poker is a card game played between two or more players and involving betting on the strength of one’s hand. It is a game that involves many strategic elements, including math, psychology, and game theory. Although the outcome of any individual hand may involve a substantial amount of luck, over the long run, the players will win money by making decisions that are optimally based on expected value and probability.

There are a wide variety of poker games, but the most popular is Texas Hold ‘em. In this game, each player is dealt two cards face down, known as hole cards, and then five community cards are dealt in a series of stages, including three additional cards, called the flop, and then a final card, known as the river. Each player then makes a decision about whether to raise, call, or fold their hand.

Before the deal, each player must make forced bets, typically an ante and a blind bet. The dealer then shuffles the cards and offers them to the player on their right for a cut. If the player declines, the dealer will shuffle again and offer the cards to the next player on their left for a cut.

After the cards are dealt, there are rounds of betting in which players can choose to check (pass on betting), bet (put chips into the pot that their opponents have to match or raise), or fold their hand and forfeit their hand. The player who has the strongest hand at the end of a round wins the pot.