Poker is a card game that requires players to manage their chips and make decisions about betting. The underlying skill of the game is to minimize losses with bad hands and maximize winnings with good ones.

The game starts with each player placing a small amount of money into the pot, known as an ante. This ante may be an initial contribution, or it might be a forced bet (sometimes both).

After the antes have been collected, each player is dealt two cards face up and kept secret from the other players. These cards are called the hole cards.

A player can decide to fold, check or raise during each betting round. When a player raises, the other players must call the new bet or fold.

There are many different types of poker games, but the most common is Texas Hold’Em. Several betting rounds are followed by a showdown where the hands of all players are revealed and the person with the best hand takes the pot.

Some variants, such as Seven-card stud, allow for players to receive additional cards, often two extra cards. These extra cards are shuffled into the deck before the next deal and passed on to the player to their right.

The highest possible hand in five-card poker is a straight, which is five cards in sequential order. The next highest is a flush, which is five cards in consecutive order of the same suit.