Official poker is a card game in which players wager over which hand has the highest rank, as determined by rules specific to each game. It is important that each player be familiar with the governing rules of the game they are playing in order to maximize their winnings and minimize their losses.
The rules of each poker variant may vary in how many cards are dealt, whether they are face up or down and what the deck configuration is, but all have betting intervals and a showdown to determine the winner. It is the ability to play well during these betting intervals that is a key element of poker skill.
There are a number of different ways to play poker, but the most common is to have an ante, then place a bet and raise it as necessary to get your opponents to fold or call. When the betting round is over, a showdown occurs where each player shows their hand one-by-one and the winner is awarded the pot.
The dealer shuffles the cards and deals them to each player, beginning with the player on their chair to their right. In some games, such as draw poker, the players can discard one or more of their original cards and receive replacements from the undealt portion of the deck in a process called drawing. There is another betting interval and a showdown in this game, although it declined in popularity during the second half of the 20th century in favor of stud and community-card poker games.