Poker is a card game in which players try to earn the highest score by matching their cards with those of other players. A variety of variants exist, but all share the same basic rules.

Poker requires skill and psychology, especially when betting. Although the outcome of any hand is based on chance, a player’s actions can significantly influence the long-run expectations of other players.

The game is played in a circular format, with cards dealt clockwise around the table. The right to deal a hand rotates among the players, and is marked by a token called a dealer button or buck.

Players make bets during each round and can call, raise, or fold. If no one calls, the betting is stopped and the hand moves to a showdown.

A poker hand comprises five cards, in inverse proportion to their mathematical frequency (the more unusual the combination of cards, the higher the rank). The best possible hand is a pair of a kind.

Three of a kind wins ties, while four of a kind loses when there are two hands that qualify with the same rank. A flush is a hand with all the same suit.

General Rule: When pairs and high hands tie, the cards outside break ties following the High Card rules.

A poker face is a technique that some people use to disguise their holdings while still in the middle of the hand. This is not a bad strategy, but it should not be used during the final betting phase. It is rude and will only distract other players from their own betting.