Poker is a card game where players place bets on their own individual hands. There are a number of different variants, but all share the same underlying rules and hand rankings. There are also a variety of betting structures, such as no-limit, pot-limit and fixed-limit. These structures allow players to control the amount of money in play, and help to avoid misunderstandings and disputes between players.

Traditionally, poker was played for real money or chips that represented the players’ stakes in the game. This style of play is often referred to as cash games, and it has been a major part of the history of poker, especially in the United States. While it has declined in popularity, many players still enjoy playing for real money.

As a result of the popularity of poker, and its growing presence in television and popular culture, there has been interest in developing a set of official poker rules. These rules, if adopted internationally, would eliminate the need for players to adapt to the local rules of each tournament or casino.

The name of the game is derived from the German word pochen, which means to strike or knock on the table. Its likeliest immediate ancestor is Pochspiel, a 15th-century game recorded as bocken, boke, bockels and suchlike.

A major issue in poker is the mucking of hands, which can occur when a player has a winning hand and does not show it. There are many reasons for this, but some of them do not constitute breaking any poker rules. However, a player should never peek at another player’s cards, even when they are not showing their own. This is considered bad gamesmanship and can lead to other players mucking the winning hand.