Poker is a card game in which players place chips (representing money) into the pot before the cards are dealt. A player may raise his bet at any time during a betting interval. If he does so, the other players must call his bet or fold their hand. The player with the best 5-card poker hand wins the pot, which consists of all bets made in that round.

The game’s history dates back centuries and its popularity has spread worldwide. The game evolved from a small number of card games to its current form. In its earliest forms, poker was played with a standard 52-card English deck. In the United States, the game spread quickly after the American Civil War and was developed further with draw poker and stud poker.

Most poker variants require one or more players to place an initial amount of money into the pot before the cards are dealt. These are known as ante bets, blind bets, or bring-ins.

After a player places his ante bet, 3 cards are dealt face-up to the center of the table. These cards are called community cards and can be used by all players to build a 5-card poker hand. A second betting phase begins with the player to the left of the big blind.

A good poker player uses his knowledge of probability and psychology to make informed decisions that lead to a long-term profitable edge over his opponents. This skill enables him to accurately predict when his opponents are holding strong hands and to make calls or folds accordingly.