Poker is a card game that is played in a variety of forms across the world. It is popular in private homes, casinos, poker clubs and over the Internet.

The rules of Poker vary, but most games involve a number of betting rounds during which players must bet or fold their hands. The player with the lowest hand begins the game, then betting proceeds clockwise around the table until all players have had a chance to bet or fold their hands.

To begin a poker game, one or more players may be required to place an initial amount of money into the pot, called an ante. The ante may be a single unit or some other small amount, such as a proportion of the minimum bet.

When the first betting round has ended, the bettor must either match or call the maximum bet so far made, or fold their hand; the player cannot pass or raise a lower amount (except where table stakes rules apply). The round of betting is repeated until all players have called or folded, at which point the hand is considered to have been decided.

The highest natural poker hand is a straight flush, which consists of five cards of the same suit in sequence. A straight flush is also known as a Royal Flush and beats all other hands.

The standard deck of 52 cards is used in most poker games. The cards are ranked from high to low, and the suits are spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs.