Poker is a card game in which players wager chips, representing money, on the outcome of a hand. The objective is to have a higher-ranking hand than your opponents. The amount of money wagered during one deal is called the pot. The player with the highest-ranking hand wins the pot. Poker can be played with any number of players. However, when there are more than 10 players, the best strategy is to form two tables and play in parallel.
Each betting interval, or round, begins with a player (as designated by the rules of the variant being played) placing into the pot chips equal to the bet made by the player before him. Each player in turn must either call the bet, raising it if he believes his action has positive expected value or simply matching the previous player’s raise; or drop the bet, leaving his hand empty and forfeiting any chips that he placed into the pot on that deal.
In the latter case, he may not re-bet for the rest of that deal. When all of the players have checked, they will discard their cards and draw replacements. The dealer will shuffle the cards once again and offer them to the player to his right for a cut; if that player declines, any other player may take the cut.
The best hands in poker are the royal flush (aces, kings, queens, and jacks of the same suit) and the straight flush. High cards and bluffing are also important. Winning hands require that your opponents are afraid to call your bets, but sometimes a player’s tenacity and courage overcomes even a bad hand.