Official poker is the name given to a card game in which players bet real money (or chips that represent currency) and the prize pool is determined by the final hand rankings. The term may also be applied to other games using poker hand rankings, such as video poker.

The game is usually played with poker chips, each of a specific color and value. Each player begins the game by “buying in” a number of chips equal to that of every other player. This amount is known as the ante. Players then place their chips into the pot at the end of each betting interval – in other words, at the end of a betting round. The best Poker hand wins the pot.

Each player is dealt two cards, which are known as their hole cards. These are combined with the five community cards dealt in three stages – a flop, a turn, and a river – to form the final Poker hand. The players then have the choice of whether to call, raise, or drop their cards and continue playing. Bluffing is a significant element of the game, and the ability to minimize losses with poor hands and maximize winnings with good ones is an underlying skill in Poker.

All cards that are exposed to one or more other players must be played, unless they are covered by the opponent’s hand or another object, such as a hat or bluffing. An exception is when a dealer exposes a card by mistake; in such cases, the procedure for dealing with the exposed card varies by poker form.