Poker is a card game with a long and varied history. It is often believed to be an ancestor of other gambling games, such as blackjack and rummy. It is played between 2 and 14 players, with the ideal number being 6 to 7. There are a number of different variants of the game, but they all involve betting rounds. The goal of the game is to win a “pot” – all of the chips bet during a hand. This can be achieved either by having the highest-ranked hand when the hands are shown or by continuing to make bets that no other player calls.

Each round of betting begins after each player receives two cards. The player to the left of the dealer puts in a mandatory bet (known as a blind) which must be raised by everyone else in turn. This is done to ensure that each player has an incentive to place a bet and thus to keep the game competitive.

Once the betting is complete, a single additional card is dealt face up, which is called the flop. There is another round of betting, which again starts with the player to the left of the dealer. At this point, each player must decide whether to call, raise or fold their hand based on the strength of their cards and the strength of other opponents’ hands. The player with the highest-ranked hand wins the pot. If there is a tie, the winnings are shared.