Poker is a card game that requires a significant amount of raw technical skill to maximize your edge. It might seem like a game of pure luck, but in the long run you will find that the best players will always win. A good poker player must be able to evaluate and calculate optimal frequencies & hand ranges for all situations.

The game of poker has many variants, but they all share certain core features. In all poker games, the object is to win the pot – the sum of all bets made in any given round. This may be done by either having the highest-ranking poker hand, or by betting so heavily that no other players call your bets.

In most poker games, a single deck of cards is used and the cards are dealt in rounds. Each player is required to place an initial bet (known as the ante or blind) before the dealer shuffles and deals the cards. The player to the right of the dealer cuts, and the cards are then dealt face up or face down depending on the game variant being played.

After each round, the players reveal their hidden cards and evaluate their hands. A poker hand comprises five cards, and its rank is determined by the inverse of its mathematical frequency. Ties are broken by the higher of two unmatched cards or secondary pairs (in a full house, for example, 3 matching cards and 2 additional matching cards). A flush contains 5 consecutive cards of the same suit, while a straight is 5 cards that skip around in rank but not sequence.