Poker is a card game in which players wager and raise bets based on the strength of their cards and the anticipated strengths of their opponents’ hands. It is played by millions of people around the world, including some who play professionally. The game has many variants, but a core set of rules enables players to make strategic decisions based on probability, psychology and game theory that lead to long-term profitability. Good poker players often possess a skill that allows them to accurately predict the strengths of their opponents’ hands.

The game is played with one or more cards dealt face down and two facing up, and multiple rounds of betting (called streets) take place after each deal. Depending on the game rules, an initial amount of money must be placed into the pot before the cards are dealt; these bets are called forced bets and are usually in the form of antes or blinds. Once the flop has been dealt there is another round of betting, starting with the player to the left of the dealer.

At the end of each betting round if any players remain, they reveal their hidden cards and evaluate their hand according to the rules of the specific game being played. The player with the best hand wins the pot. The best possible hand is a straight flush, where each of the five cards is of the same rank. If more than one player has a straight flush, the value of their highest card breaks the tie.