Poker is a card game that involves betting among a group of players. It can be played with a minimum of two players, although in most cases the ideal number is six or seven. The object is to win a pot consisting of the total amount bet during any one betting round. A player can win the pot by forming a winning poker hand or by making a bet that no other player calls.
Players contribute money to the pot before cards are dealt, a contribution called an ante. This is usually made by the player to the left of the dealer, but it may be taken by any other player. A player can also raise the bet after a previous player has raised it. In some variants, a player can check, which means that he or she will not raise the bet.
During the betting intervals in each deal, players must bet at least an established minimum, or “call.” A player who raises the previous bet is said to “raise.” The player with the highest card breaks any tie between two or more hands.
If no one has a high enough hand to win the pot, the remaining players participate in a showdown by revealing their cards. The player with the highest hand wins. Depending on the rules, a player can also bluff by raising his or her bets without having a good poker hand. Often this will force other players to fold, giving the bluffing player control of the pot.