A game of poker involves betting among individuals in competition for an amount of money (called the pot) based on the hands they have. Each player attempts to control the amount in the pot based on their own hand, on their prediction as to what their opponents may be holding, and on their own estimation of how likely it is that their opponents will call or raise the bet.

While there are many variants of poker, it is considered to be a card game in which luck is an important factor and requires great skill as well. It can be played casually for pennies and matchsticks, or professionally for thousands of dollars in a casino poker room. The rules and traditions of the game vary greatly depending on how it is played, but there are certain core elements that are shared by all official poker games.

The earliest written mention of poker occurs in the 1845 edition of Hoyle’s Games, though earlier references exist for a variety of vying games, such as Belle, Flux & Trente-un (17th – 18th centuries, German and French), Brelan (French, 17th – 18th centuries), and Post & Pair (18th century, English and American). However, these games have little bearing on poker, which is distinct from other bluffing games.

A poker game is played with a standard pack of 52 cards, which are ranked (from high to low) Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, and 5. Each card has its own rank and value. Wider Poker cards were created to make it easier for players to hold more than 10 cards and strategize their moves, as well as to see what cards they or their opponents have.