Poker is a card game where players place bets in order to win a “pot” of chips. Players reveal their cards in a final betting round (called the showdown), and the highest-ranked hand wins the pot. Players can also win the pot if they bet and everyone else folds during one of the previous betting rounds.

Typically, the first player to act after each deal puts a small amount of money into the pot (called an ante). This is called being in the “pot.”

Once each player has placed their antes into the pot, they are dealt two cards and five community cards are then revealed to all players. Players aim to make a high-ranking poker hand using their own two cards and the five community cards.

A good poker player can make a strong poker hand without showing their cards at any point during the betting rounds. This is known as bluffing, and is an important part of the game. The ability to read your opponents’ expressions, gestures and even breathing is also a vital component of the game.

Poker is a gambling game that can help improve your decision-making skills, as it forces you to weigh the risk and reward of each choice you make. It is a social game, and it can be played with any number of people from 2 to 14. It became popular in the United States after the American Civil War. By the late 19th century, many variations of the game had been developed.