Poker is a card game played by two or more players. It can be a game of high stakes or low, but in either case, the aim is to win the pot by making the best possible hand. This is done by combining the cards in your hand with the community cards on the table to form a poker hand.

The game has a number of different variants, but most of them are played using the standard 52-card pack, sometimes with one or two jokers added. The deal is usually made from a single deck, but some games use two packs in order to speed up the process. One pack is dealt, and while this is happening the other is shuffled and prepared for the next deal.

While a strong poker hand is mostly a matter of skill, luck will still determine the outcome of a large percentage of hands. This is known as variance, and it is the reason why even very good players will go on long downswings from time to time.

A poor strategy in poker involves limping – playing weak hands when you should be raising. This is a mistake because it gives your opponents the opportunity to steal the pot with better hands and it makes your stronger ones less likely to beat theirs. Raising also forces the worse hands out of the pot, maximizing the amount you win when you have a strong poker hand.