Poker is a card game with a large element of chance. While it is possible to win a hand with a small amount of luck, most professional players understand that the long-run results are determined by their actions chosen on the basis of probability, psychology and game theory.
Prior to the start of a game, players exchange cash for chips of varying values. Depending on the variant of poker, one or more players may have forced bets, called an ante and/or blind bet. The player to the left of the dealer has the smallest bet, while the player to their right has the largest bet.
After the antes and blind bets are placed, the dealer shuffles and deals the cards to each player in turn, beginning with the player on their left. Depending on the variant of poker, cards may be dealt either face up or face down.
During the betting intervals that follow each deal, players place chips into the pot in response to the bets made by their opponents. A player can “call” a bet by placing in the same number of chips as their predecessors, or raise a bet. If a player is unwilling to put in the same number of chips as their predecessors, they must “drop” (fold).
After the final betting interval, all remaining players show their hands and the highest poker hand takes the pot. There may also be side pots, depending on the rules of the specific game being played.