Poker is a card game that involves betting and the formation of hands. It can be played by 2 to 14 players, with the ideal number being 6. The object of the game is to win a pot, which is made up of the bets placed in any given deal. This can be done by having the highest ranking hand or by making a bet that no one calls.

A standard set of 52 cards is used. Before dealing the cards, a round of betting is held. During this time, each player can choose to call, check or fold his or her hand. The player who holds the best hand wins the pot. There are often rules for how the winnings are distributed to other players, depending on the game variant.

Initially, each player receives two hole cards face-down. There is a round of betting, beginning with the player on the left of the dealer. Then, 1 more card is dealt face up. This is called the flop. Players then reveal their cards and make further bets, if desired.

A high-card hand is usually considered the highest, followed by a flush, which contains 5 cards of consecutive rank in the same suit, and a straight. Other higher-ranking hands include three of a kind and two pair, which consist of two matching cards plus one unmatched card. There are also a variety of lower-ranking hands, such as a high-card.