A card game that requires a combination of skill and chance, Poker is played in many variants, and can be played as a cash or tournament game. It is popular at home and in public places such as bars and casinos, and it has gained popularity around the world due to its presence in televised tournaments and online play.

While poker is a game of chance, it also involves a significant amount of strategy and psychology. Players make decisions about when to call raises and when to fold their hand according to a strategy designed to predict opponents’ hands accurately enough to make long-term profitable calls. Good poker players have this skill effectively, and can use it to improve their winning chances over time.

When playing poker, a player places an initial forced bet – known as an ante or blind bet – into the pot before betting begins. Then, in turn, players may raise the amount they place into the pot, and so on. The goal is to win the total of all bets made on a deal by having the highest-ranking poker hand.

There is usually a designated dealer, who is responsible for shuffling the cards and dealing them to each player. The dealer is typically a player, but in some cases a non-player may be assigned this role for the duration of the game. The dealer is identified with a special chip, and this chip is passed to a new player after each round of betting.