Poker is a card game in which players bet in one round and raise or re-raise their bets depending on the strength of their hands. It is believed to be a descendant of the 17th-century French game poque and the Spanish game primero, but it has evolved to include several variants that allow for more complex strategy.
A hand is determined by the cards themselves and a number of factors including the player’s ability to bluff. The highest ranking hands are Royal Flush (A, K, Q, J, 10 of the same suit); Straight Flush (five cards in a sequence, all of the same suit); Four of a Kind (four cards of the same number/picture); and Two Pairs (two different pairs of cards). Other hands may tie, in which case they split the pot equally.
The first action in each betting interval is to match or raise the bet made by the previous player, or “call.” After all players have called or raised at least once, the next player may fold if they have a poor hand.
After the last betting interval ends, the remaining players show their cards and the best hand wins the pot. Typically, players will contribute to a “kitty,” or special fund, by cutting one low-denomination chip from each pot in which there has been more than one raise. This money is used to pay for new decks of cards and other supplies for the game.
Unlike other games that may involve considerable chance, money is only placed into the pot by a player who believes the bet has positive expected value or for strategic reasons. As a result, Poker is a game of skill, where knowledge and understanding are more important than luck.