Poker is a card game in which players place bets on the outcome of a hand. The most valuable hand wins the pot, which is the total of all bets placed during a single betting interval. Each player is required to either call a bet, raise it or drop. Players may also choose to pass (check) on a particular hand.

Poker can be played with any number of players but ideal numbers range from 6 to 8. Players are dealt five cards each from a standard 52-card deck. A variety of different hands can be made, each with a unique ranking system. The highest rank is a royal flush, consisting of five consecutive cards of the same suit. Other high ranking hands include a straight, three of a kind and two pair.

In most forms of the game, a player must increase his stake in order to stay in the pot. He may equalize his stake by making up the difference between his own total and that of the last active player, or he may raise it further. If he is unwilling to do either of these, he must fold.

A player who calls a bet puts chips into the pot in equal amount to the player to his left. The player to his left then has the option of raising his bet or dropping out of the game. By dropping, a player forfeits his chance to win the original pot and any side pots that may be in play.