Poker is a card game with a long and varied history. The game has been adapted for many different purposes and is now played in various forms all over the world. The game involves betting between players, and the player with the best hand wins the pot. The game can also involve bluffing, in which the players try to project confidence in their hands and trick other players into believing that they have a better hand than they do.

A basic hand consists of five cards. A straight contains five consecutive cards of the same rank, and a flush contains three or more matching cards of the same rank. A full house consists of three cards of the same rank, and two matching cards of another rank. A pair consists of two cards of the same rank, and one unmatched card.

The game usually begins with one or more forced bets, which are called the ante and blind. The dealer shuffles the deck, then deals each player a hand of cards, face up or down, depending on the variant of the game.

The players can then choose to raise, call, or fold. Saying “raise” means you want to place a bet higher than the previous player. If you call, you match the amount of money that was raised in the last round. If you fold, you will not compete in the next round and give up your chances of winning the pot.