Poker is a card game where players bet against each other depending on the value of their poker hand. The players use a normal set (or deck) of 52 cards and plastic or ceramic discs called chips.

The game starts with one or more players making an initial contribution, called an ante, to the pot before the cards are dealt. This amount is usually equal to the total amount of bets that will be made during the initial round.

Once all of the antes have been placed, the dealer shuffles and deals the cards to the players one at a time, starting with the player to their left. Each player then takes a turn to make bets, and all bets are gathered into the central pot.

There are a number of variants of poker, each with different rules. In some variations, a draw phase is used instead of a betting round. The player with the lowest hand starts first and plays clockwise around the table until everyone has a chance to bet or fold.

Bluffing is a key element of the game. If a player makes a bet or raises that no other player calls, they win the pot without having to reveal their hand.

Poker has become one of the most popular games worldwide, particularly in North America. It is played in private homes, poker clubs, casinos, and over the Internet.