Poker is a card game for two to fourteen players played on a table with a central pot of money. The object of the game is to win this pot by getting a hand that ranks higher than any other player’s in each betting round. Players may also bluff by betting that they have a high-ranked hand when they do not, in order to induce other players to call (i.e. match) their bet or concede.
There are many variants of poker, but the game usually involves a dealer and at least two to seven players. Each player begins with a fixed amount of money in the form of chips, and these are placed into the pot when they make a bet. Unlike other card games, in which the value of a bet is largely determined by chance, in poker the majority of bets are made voluntarily on the basis of expected values determined by probability, psychology, and game theory.
Each player is dealt five cards, which are gathered into one hand and may be displayed face up or face down depending on the variant of the game. Standard hands include: A flush contains 5 cards of the same suit. A straight contains 5 cards in a running sequence but of different suits. A pair includes 2 cards of the same rank. Ties are broken by the highest unmatched card.
When a player makes a bet, the players to their left must either “call” (put into the pot the same number of chips as the bet) or drop out of the betting. If a player cannot call the bet, they must abandon their hand and return their cards to the dealer.