Poker is a card game in which players wager money on the outcome of a hand. The game has become widely popular around the world and is played in casinos, card clubs, in the home, on television, and on the Internet. Various types of poker are played, with the most popular being Texas hold ’em and Omaha. Each poker variant has different rules, but all share some common elements.

A player begins by putting an amount of money into the pot (called an ante). Then, cards are dealt. In most poker games, each player has five cards. A hand is evaluated by its mathematical frequency, with the highest hand winning the pot. A player may also choose to bluff by betting that they have a high hand when they do not. In this case, other players must call (match) the bet or fold.

Each player must put in a bet for each round of betting. A player who makes a bet that exactly meets or exceeds the previous bet is said to call, and a player who increases a previous bet is said to raise.

Despite being a game of chance, poker requires considerable skill and psychology to play well. A good understanding of probability and game theory is essential, as is the ability to read opponents and make adjustments in the betting pattern during a hand. Also important is the ability to control one’s emotions, as poker can be frustrating and even demoralizing if bad luck strikes.