A card game that involves betting, Poker has a strong element of chance but requires a great deal of skill. The players’ decisions to make bets or not, and how much to call or raise on each bet, are determined by their knowledge of probability, psychology, and game theory. Minimizing losses with poor hands and maximizing winnings with good ones is the basic strategy of the game.

In most forms of the game, a player begins each round by putting one or more chips into the pot. The player to their left must either call that amount or raise it. If a player is unwilling or unable to call, they must “drop,” or fold their hand and leave the pot. The winner of each betting interval is the player with the highest-ranking hand at the end of the hand.

There are several variants of the game, including Texas Hold’em and Omaha. In both of these, each player starts with two cards known as hole cards. These are then followed by five community cards that are dealt face up in three stages: the flop, the turn, and the river. In addition to the community cards, players may also be able to improve their own hand by making a pair or three of a kind. A pair contains two cards of the same rank, while a three of a kind has three matching cards of one rank and one unmatched card.