Poker is a card game in which players wager money on the outcome of a hand. It is a game that can be played in private homes, in poker clubs, in casinos and over the Internet. It is considered the national card game of the United States, and its play and jargon have become part of American culture.

The rules of Poker vary by game and table, but the basic principles are the same: each player must ante something (amount varies by game) to be dealt cards; then when betting comes around to them they can call the last person’s bet, raise it or fold their hand. The highest hand wins the pot.

In most games, a single standard 52-card pack is used, but sometimes two packs of contrasting colors are shuffled and cut together during the deal. The cards are then dealt one at a time face-up to each player, in rotation, until a jack appears, at which point the dealer becomes the first to bet.

The highest poker hand is a royal flush, consisting of a King, Queen, Jack and Ace of the same suit. Four of a kind is another high poker hand, and it includes all cards in the same rank (for example A-K-Q-J-T). A straight is five consecutive cards of the same suit, such as 5-6-7-8-9-1; a full house includes three of a kind plus two matching pair of cards, while a two-pair hand is just two pairs of cards of equal value.