Poker is a card game that has become one of the most popular games in the world. People play it for fun with friends, at home for pennies or matchsticks, and professionally in famous casinos. It is a game of chance, but it also requires incredibly great skill. The best players make the most money in the long run.

Unlike most other card games, in Poker the highest-ranking hand wins the pot (the total amount of bets placed by players). The cards are dealt face down and are revealed to all players during one or more betting phases. A player may choose to call, raise, or fold (drop).

Each player has two cards that are hidden from other players, called their hole or pocket. These cards are used to build a poker hand, which is composed of five cards. The best poker hand is a straight flush, which consists of five consecutive cards of the same suit (either clubs, diamonds, hearts or spades). A pair is two cards of the same rank and type (such as 4 aces or 5 kings).

The first player to act can bet any number of chips in a betting phase. Then the player to his or her left must either “call” by putting in the same amount of chips or “raise,” which means that they put in more than the original bet. A player who chooses to raise must be willing to risk losing all their chips in the side pot.