Poker is a card game that can be played by two or more players. It is a fast-paced card game in which the object is to win the pot (the sum of all bets placed in a single deal), by having the highest hand at the end of the hand. The game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards. There are many variations of the game, but the basic rules are the same in all variants.

To begin a hand, players must place an amount of money into the pot (the amount varies by game, but typically is no more than a nickel). After that, the cards are dealt. Each player may then decide to call, raise, or fold his or her hands. Players can also ‘check’, which means they will not bet and simply pass on their turn to act.

Throughout history, poker has been developed with different rules, and with increasing popularity came the development of television tournaments and professional events. These changes made the game more accessible to people outside of casinos and private games.

The game became more popular in the early 21st century due to increased availability of online poker and improved hole-card cameras, which allowed viewers to see the cards that were being revealed. The game is now a spectator sport with large audiences watching major events such as the World Series of Poker. It is also a very profitable pastime, even for amateurs who don’t play professionally.