Poker is a card game in which players wager real money. This can be either cash or chips that represent currency. Poker is a game of skill where players can minimize their losses with poor hands and maximize their winnings with good ones. This underlying element of skill and the use of bluffing makes poker popular with many people. Players can play a game of poker in their homes, or professionally in famous casinos and in tournaments.

The game has existed for centuries, and was developed into the modern form in the nineteenth century. It is believed to have evolved from the 17th-century Persian game As-Nas. Draw poker declined in popularity during the second half of the 20th century, and was replaced by stud poker and various community-card games.

Rules of poker vary depending on the type of game being played, but there are some general rules that all games must adhere to. These include the number of cards each player is dealt, the betting structure (either pot-limit or fixed limit), and whether the game has a wildcard or community card.

Other rules dictate that players must protect their cards by placing their hands or chips on them. Players must also verbally declare their intentions of taking an action (raise, call, fold) and knock on the table if they want to check. These declarations are binding and may not be changed.

If a player is unsure of a rule, they can ask the floor person for clarification. They should avoid using regional terms or gestures because these could lead to a different ruling than they intended. This is important to ensure that the game runs smoothly and that players understand what is expected of them.