Poker is a card game with an element of chance and skill. Its popularity has increased in recent years because of its exposure on television, the Internet and in popular literature. Players compete to make the best five-card hand using their own cards and the community cards. The highest hand wins the pot. There are a variety of betting rules and strategies. Bluffing is an important part of the game and can be used to minimize losses with poor hands and maximize winnings with good hands.

Most forms of poker require players to put an initial contribution, called the ante, into the pot before they are dealt cards. Depending on the game, the ante can be any amount up to the maximum limit of the betting round. The dealer is usually responsible for establishing the form of poker to be played and may designate the ante, wild cards (if any) and the maximum raise in no-limit or pot-limit play.

The game is played with a standard 52-card pack, sometimes supplemented by one or two jokers. The cards are ranked (from high to low) Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2. There are four suits, but only the spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs are of any significance in poker.

Players may establish house rules by unanimous or majority agreement and should be written down. It is also a tradition that one player be designated as the banker, keeping track of the stock and recording how many chips each player has been issued or paid for in cash.