Poker is a card game that is played by two or more players. It is a gambling game that involves skill and psychology, as well as luck. It can be played socially for pennies or professionally for thousands of dollars. There are many different variations of the game, but all involve betting and a common set of rules. The aim of the game is to win the “pot” – the sum total of all bets made in a hand. This pot is won either by having the best hand or by making a bet that no other player calls.

In most games, each player is required to place an ante (amount varies) before being dealt cards. Then the dealer shuffles and deals the cards, beginning with the player to his left. The players then put their bets into the pot, one at a time in turn. The player can say “call” to call the previous player’s bet, or “raise” to raise it. If he doesn’t call, or raises his bet too much, he must fold his hand.

The cards used in poker are a standard 53-card pack plus the joker, which counts as a wild card and can be used to complete a flush, a straight, or certain other special hands. The highest card in the hand wins, unless it is a pair. If no one has a pair, the highest single card wins (this is called high card). Ties are broken by looking at the second highest card, then the third highest, etc.