Poker is a game in which players try to make the best possible five-card hand. If two players have the same card combination, they will tie and share the pot. The higher the five-card hand, the higher the payout. The game ends when one player wins all of the money that was put down as a buy-in.

While there are numerous theories about how poker came to be, it is believed to have originated in ancient Persia. While this is unlikely, the earliest known game in Europe was the 17th century French game poque. From poque, the English word poker is derived. The game was played alongside other European games such as pochen, and made its way to the New World with French settlers.

In most forms of poker, players make mandatory bets at the start of the game. These bets are known as blinds, and they are made before the players are dealt their cards. Typically, these bets are made by players on their left and right, with the dealer acting as the first dealer.

While the outcome of any poker hand is subject to chance, the expectation of players based on past actions and statistics can guide their decisions. The first bet in a poker game must have a positive expected value. Players have a wide variety of reasons for placing money bets, including financial or psychological reasons.