Poker is a card game in which players wager against each other, either individually or as part of a group. The game consists of several rounds of betting, with each round involving the revealing of one or more cards. A player with the highest-ranking hand wins the pot. Other players may choose to call (match) the bet, raise it, or concede. In addition, players may bluff in the hope that others will call their bet, while also hoping to win by bluffing against opponents who hold superior hands. The game has a long history and is played all over the world, both in private games and in casinos. It is considered the national card game of the United States, and its play and jargon have permeated popular culture.
Before the actual game of poker begins, players must make forced bets, known as the ante and the blind bet. These bets are placed into a central pot and are generally exchanged for chips of a certain value. Each player receives two cards, which are dealt face down and hidden from other players; these are called the player’s hole or pocket cards. The first round of betting then begins, with the player to the left of the big blind raising.
During each subsequent betting round, the player can either raise or check. A player who checks may not call any further raises and will then lose his or her chances to win the pot. If more than one player remains in contention after the final betting phase, a showdown occurs and the winning hand is revealed.