Poker is a card game of skill and strategy in which players place bets on the strength of their hands. The game has numerous variants, but most share certain underlying characteristics and a standard hand ranking system. The game has gained popularity around the world, and its play and jargon have become embedded in American culture.

Traditionally, a pack of 52 cards is used for the game. Two decks with different back colours are commonly used, and the cards are shuffled before each deal. Some games also permit the use of wild cards, although it is best to avoid them. Two to seven players can play, but the ideal number is five.

Once all the players have received their two personal cards, a round of betting begins. Each player can choose to call (match) the bet of another player, raise the bet, or concede. Players can also bluff, by pretending they have a superior hand than they actually do.

Once the initial betting is over, a further three cards are dealt face up on the table, known as the flop. Then, a final card is revealed, called the river. Using these additional community cards, a player can make a poker hand of five cards. The highest valued hand wins. A Straight Flush contains 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. A Full House has 3 matching cards of one rank, plus 2 matching cards of another rank. A Pair is 2 matching cards of the same rank, plus another unmatched card.