Poker is a card game in which players wager over which hand is the best according to a set of rules. It is a global game that is played in many different forms, all of which involve one or more betting rounds and require some form of forced bets (either an ante or blind). A number of cards are dealt to each player, either face up or down; this may vary by variant.

Most poker games allow players to place additional chips into the pot after a round of betting, if they choose to do so. This is known as raising. A player may also choose to fold his or her cards in a hand.

Bluffing in poker is an important part of the game, and involves projecting confidence that your cards are better than they actually are in the hope that your opponents will believe you and fold rather than risk losing their money to you in a showdown. It is possible to win hands without holding the best ones by bluffing, and this can make for a very exciting game.

During the early 19th century, poker became popular in the United States, and it is believed that the full 52-card English deck was introduced at this time. From there, the game spread to other countries around the world. It has since developed into several distinct variants, including draw and stud poker.