Poker is a card game in which players make bets using chips or cash. The game has many variants, but the most common is Texas hold ’em. It is a fast-paced game with multiple betting rounds, and it includes the ability to bluff. Unlike other casino games, poker is not based on luck; rather, it requires skill and knowledge of probability and game theory.

The game starts with each player placing forced bets, called an ante or blind bets, into the pot before the cards are dealt. The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals them out to the players one at a time starting with the player to their left. Cards may be dealt face up or face down depending on the game.

During each betting interval, or round, players can choose to call (match the amount of money put into the pot by the player before them), raise (bet more than the previous player), or fold their hand and forfeit their turn. Each player’s goal is to minimize losses with poor hands and maximize winnings with good ones.

A good Poker hand contains at least three matching cards of a rank, two cards of another rank, or a pair. Other possible poker hands include a flush, straight, or 3 of a kind. The most valuable hands are a royal flush, four of a kind, and a full house. A royal flush consists of five consecutive cards of the same suit.