Poker is a card game in which players place bets based on the strength of their hands. The goal is to win the pot – all bets placed on one deal – either by having the highest-ranked hand or by betting until other players drop out of the hand. The rules of poker can vary depending on the game and the number of players, but there are some basic principles that apply to most forms of the game.

The game of Poker can be played with two to 14 players. The cards are dealt face down to each player, and the object of the game is to win the pot by making a bet that no other players call. Each player may also bluff during the course of the game. The game can be played in cash games or tournaments.

During the first betting interval, called the flop, each player must decide whether to call a bet or fold his or her cards. If a player calls the bet, that player must then put into the pot at least as many chips as the player to his or her left. Alternatively, the player may raise the bet by putting in more chips than the previous player. The player to his or her left must then choose to call the raise or fold.

Once the flop has been dealt, the next betting interval, known as the turn, begins. This round of betting continues until a single player remains active in the pot. At this point, the dealer reveals the final community card, known as the river. The remaining players must then show their cards to determine the winner of the pot.

A winning hand in Poker consists of five consecutive cards of the same suit, such as four of a kind or three of a kind. The rank of the cards in a hand is determined by their odds (probability). Unlike some other card games, in Poker, suits have no relative ranking. If two or more players have identical hands, the highest unmatched pair breaks the tie.

If a player does not have a qualifying hand, he or she must drop out of the pot and forfeit any rights to that pot. In this way, the original pot can be divided among the players who remain in the hand. In addition, there may be side pots for other hands. A player who drops out of the main pot also surrenders his or her rights to any side pot. The same principle applies to side pots for different hands, including a high card. Side pots are usually rewarded with a higher percentage of the total prize pool than the main pot.