Poker is a card game in which players wager money or chips on the outcome of a hand according to the rules of the particular game. There are hundreds of different forms of poker, played in private homes and in countless casinos and cardrooms. It can be played for pennies or thousands of dollars.
The game is governed by a set of official poker rules. The most widely used variation is Texas hold ’em, but many games use variants of the basic rules. The rules differ in the number of cards dealt, whether they are face up or down, and the amount of betting that takes place. The rules also stipulate how the hands should be ranked.
Traditionally, the game was played with one standard 52-card pack, but in clubs and among skilled players two packs of contrasting colors are sometimes utilized to speed up the deal. The dealer of the previous hand assembles all of the cards from the pack he dealt, shuffles them and prepares them for the next deal while another pack is being dealt.
At the beginning of each betting interval, the player to his or her left may call, raise, or fold. Players who do not want to make a bet may check. If a player checks during a betting interval, that player cannot bet on the next round.
After the betting is completed, all remaining players with hole cards expose their holdings to determine a winner. The best five-card hand wins the pot.