Poker is a card game in which players wager money against each other. The game can be played with 2 to 14 people. The object is to win the pot, which is the sum of all bets in any one deal. A player may win the pot by having the highest-ranking hand, or by making a bet that no other players call. A player may also win the pot by bluffing, in which case he or she bets that their hand is higher than it actually is.
Poker has become very popular since the spread of televised tournaments in the early 2000s. A player’s ability to read opponents is a critical component of success in the game. This involves paying attention to subtle physical poker tells and analyzing a player’s betting patterns. It also requires a strong understanding of basic probability and game theory.
Most forms of poker require one or more forced bets at the beginning of each hand, which are often referred to as the ante and blind bets. Cards are then dealt, either face up or face down, depending on the variant being played. Each round of betting may last for one or more betting intervals, and at the end of each betting interval a player must place in the pot the number of chips (representing money) required by the rules of the particular poker variant being played.