Poker is a card game in which players wager money, called chips, on the outcome of a hand. Each player has two cards (sometimes called your “hole” cards), and the best five-card “hand” wins the pot. A player may call a raise and then place more chips into the pot if he believes his hand is better than his opponents.

The game was introduced in America in the nineteenth century and soon spread to other countries. It gained popularity as it became a staple of riverboat gambling on the Mississippi. Today, it is a global game played by millions of people.

There are many different poker games, but all require one or more players to make an initial contribution to the pot before the cards are dealt. This is called a forced bet and is usually either an ante or a blind bet.

After the forced bets are made, the dealer shuffles and deals the cards to the players, starting with the player to his left. The players then develop their hands, which is a combination of their own two cards and the community cards that are shared by all players.

A good poker player is able to read the tells of other players and can make decisions based on the information they have available. They are able to bluff effectively and avoid being bluffed by other players, and they can also know when it is appropriate to fold their hand and not risk losing more money.