Poker is a card game for two to 14 players, played with a standard deck of 52 cards (although some games use multiple packs and/or add jokers). A player’s goal is to win the pot, which is the aggregate of all bets placed during a single hand. This can be accomplished by having the highest-ranking poker hand or by betting such that no other player calls.

During each betting interval (as determined by the rules of the particular poker variant being played), a player must place some amount of money into the center of the table, called the pot. This money is typically represented by chips or cash. A player can also fold his or her cards during the course of a hand, thereby surrendering the right to compete for the pot.

In most cases, a poker hand consists of five cards. The rank of a poker hand is in inverse proportion to its mathematical frequency: the rarer the combination, the higher the rank. A pair of matching cards is the lowest possible hand, while three of a kind beats any straight and four of a kind beats any full house. Depending on the rules of a given poker variant, there may also be wild cards (such as four aces or one-eyed jacks).

While many poker variants differ from each other, all share certain basic principles. For example, players must ante something (the amount varies by game) to receive their first set of cards. Then, when it’s their turn to bet, they can choose to call a previous bet (“call”) or raise it (“raise”).