Poker is a card game played by two or more people. There are many variants of the game, but all involve betting among players and require a certain amount of skill. The objective is to win the pot, which is the total sum of bets made by all players in a single deal. In most cases, the pot is won by a player with a high-ranking hand or by making a bet that no other players call.

During each betting interval, one player – designated by the rules of the particular poker variant being played – has the privilege or obligation to make the first bet. Then, each player must place into the pot a number of chips (representing money) to make his contribution at least equal to that of the player before him. This is known as placing the ante.

The value of a poker hand is in inverse proportion to its mathematical frequency: the more rare the combination, the higher the hand’s rank. The highest-ranking hand is a royal flush, which includes a 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of the same suit. Other high hands include four of a kind and straight. Ties are broken following the rules of High Card.

Poker is typically played with a fixed number of cards and a fixed number of players around a circular or oval-shaped table. Before the game begins, the initial dealer is chosen by dealing a single card face-up to each player in turn until a jack appears; the player receiving the jack becomes the first dealer. The turn to deal and the turn to bet pass clockwise around the table.