Poker is a card game in which players place bets on the value of their hands (of usually five cards) and then reveal those hands. The bets are placed into a central pot and the player with the highest hand wins. Players may also bluff, betting that they have a good hand while others call the bet; this is known as a “spot” or a “pot-spot.”

The game has many variants, but in all of them, the dealer shuffles and deals cards to each player in turn, starting with the player to his or her immediate left. Depending on the specific game, one or more rounds of betting follow. In each round, the player to the left of the player who placed the first bet places chips into the pot, representing money, in order to make his or her contribution at least equal to that of the player before him.

While the game is mostly a matter of chance, it has elements of skill, including bankroll management and studying opponents. A key skill is minimizing losses with weak hands and making winnings with strong hands. For these reasons, even expert players should periodically review the theory of poker.