Poker is a card game that is played throughout the world. It is popular in private homes, in poker clubs, and in casinos. It is also widely played over the Internet, and has become a major source of entertainment for many people.

The basic rules of poker involve a deal of cards, followed by betting rounds and a showdown. There are several variations of the rules, but in most forms a player must put an initial contribution, called an ante, into the pot.

After the ante is paid, each player receives one card facedown and one card faceup. The dealer shuffles and deals the cards, beginning with the player on their left.

Each of the faceup cards represents a standard poker hand, and is evaluated by its odds (probability). The highest possible hand is five of a kind, which beats any straight flush.

Two pairs of cards of different ranks are combined to make a full house; the highest pair wins. In the event of a tie, the players share their winnings.

Three of a kind is a combination of three cards of the same rank and two other cards of a different rank; the highest three of a kind wins.

Four of a kind is a combination of four cards of the same rank; the highest four of a kind wins.

Five of a kind is a combination of five cards of the same suit, but not all in sequence; the highest five of a kind wins.