Poker is a card game in which players place chips or cash in a pot and the highest hand wins. Players may also choose to bluff, betting that they have the best possible hand when in reality they do not. This is done to make the other players either call their bet or fold, which can be profitable in the long run. While much of the game involves chance, a knowledgeable player can improve their chances of winning by adopting strategies based on probability and psychology.
In most games, each player places an ante (amount varies by game) to be dealt cards and place their bets into the pot. Once everyone calls a bet in the final betting round, the players show their cards and the person with the highest hand wins the pot. In some games, the highest and lowest hands split the pot.
Typical poker hands include two distinct pairs, three of a kind, straights, and flushes. A high card breaks ties, and the highest pair wins if multiple players have two identical pairs. The best poker hand is five of a kind, consisting of a full house in consecutive suits; for example, five jacks beats four of a kind. Poker games can be played with a minimum of two people and as many as 14 players. The number of players can impact the frequency and amount of bets, but it is important to maintain a balance between a high level of skill and a large number of players.