Poker is a card game of chance and strategy, where players try to make the best five-card hand. The highest ranking hand is a royal flush, consisting of four matching cards of the same rank in the same suit. The second highest hand is a straight, with five consecutive cards of the same suit. The third highest hand is a full house, with three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another rank, plus a pair.

Before each round of betting, each player places an ante into the pot. Then each player is dealt a total of seven cards. If a player does not like his or her hand, he or she may discard it and receive new cards by saying “draw.” The remaining players then reveal their cards and compete for the pot.

In the early rounds, players are feeling each other out, making small bets to gauge each other’s reactions. But as the game progresses, the action heats up and bets increase. The players’ reaction to the cards they receive and their attempts to bluff other players is what makes poker so interesting.

The rules of Poker vary according to local customs and preferences, but a written code of poker laws is recommended for adoption by any club or group of players. In addition, players can make their own “house rules,” which are specific to the group. These rules should be recorded for reference.