Poker is a card game that involves chance and strategic decisions. It is played worldwide in casinos, private homes, poker clubs, and over the Internet. It has been called the national card game of the United States, and its rules and jargon have become part of American culture. Although the outcome of any particular hand may involve considerable luck, long-run expectations are determined by a player’s actions chosen on the basis of probability theory, game theory, and psychology.
At the beginning of each hand, each player “buys in” by placing a bet. The player with the highest ranked poker hand wins the pot, or all of the money bet during that hand. If no one has a high hand, the players split the pot equally.
Each player is dealt two cards, and then the rest of the cards are revealed by the dealer. A player can choose to check (match the amount of the previous bet), raise, or fold. If they raise, they must match the amount of the largest previous raise to remain in the hand.
A standard poker hand consists of three matching cards of the same rank, and two unmatched cards. A pair consists of two cards of the same rank, and a straight consists of five consecutive cards of the same suit. Ties are broken by the rank of the suits, which are spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs in decreasing order of value. In addition, some games include wild cards which can be used to break ties.