Poker is a card game of chance and skill in which players place bets and try to make the best possible hand of five cards. It is played with a standard 52-card English deck of cards. Countless variants of the game exist, some of which use different rules regarding the order and number of cards dealt and how they are discarded. Despite these differences, many of the basic rules of the game are the same.

The player to the left of the dealer begins each betting interval with either a check or an open bet, depending on the variant being played. This player, or the player who has the option to act first if no one else has opened, then has the privilege (or obligation) of placing enough chips in the pot (representing money for which poker is almost always played) so that his total contribution equals the amount placed by the player before him.

If a player has a strong hand and is confident in its chances of winning, he may raise the action by making a bet that other players must call or fold. Players also have the option to bluff, by betting that they have a good hand even though they do not. This strategy is often successful because other players will fear being called on a bluff and may continue to place bets, weakening the value of the pot. The player with the strongest hand wins.