A card game that takes a lot of skill and strategy. It can be a very fast-paced game and players have to make quick decisions on how to act, which cards to play, and whether or not to raise a hand. Poker can be played between two players, as in a cash game, or with many more people at one time, as in a tournament.
Before each player is dealt their cards, they must place an initial amount of money into the pot. This is called placing an ante or blind bet. These bets are often required of all players, but they can also be optional. In some cases, a player will choose to bet all of their chips on a hand, which is known as going All-in.
After the antes and blind bets are made, each player is dealt 2 cards face-down (hidden from the other players). These are their hole or pocket cards. 3 more cards are then dealt face-up in the center of the table, and these are known as the flop. Players then use these cards to make their best 5-card poker hand.
A winning poker hand contains at least three matching cards of the same rank and two unmatched cards of a lower rank. The highest ranking card in a hand is the ace. A flush is five cards of consecutive rank in the same suit. A straight is five cards of consecutive rank but from more than one suit. A pair is two matching cards of a higher rank, and a high pair is usually worth more than a low pair.