Poker is a card game in which players wager chips (representing money) by placing them into a pot. The object is to win the pot by having the highest ranking poker hand at the end of a betting interval. The game can be played with any number of players, although ideally there are 6 to 8 players. There are many different variants of the game.

Each player is dealt five cards. The rank of a poker hand is determined by its probability, and two or more identical hands tie. Generally, the highest hand is a pair of matching cards. In some games there are wild cards, which can increase the value of certain hands.

In some forms of poker, the players contribute a fixed sum into the pot before each deal. This contribution is called an ante. The first player to act may raise or call a bet. A player who calls a bet means he wishes to match the amount of the previous bet.

When it is a player’s turn to act, he has more information than his opponents and can bet more accurately. This advantage is called position. However, position can also be disadvantageous, especially when the flop comes with lots of high-ranking cards. For example, a player with pocket kings and an ace on the flop should be cautious if other players call the flop bet.