In poker, a player makes bets in intervals during each hand. The object is to minimize losses with bad hands while maximizing wins with good ones. In some variants, players put in an ante before the cards are dealt. The player who puts in his chips first is called an active player. The dealer has the final right to shuffle the cards.

Although poker is primarily a game of chance, the game is infused with both psychology and skill. In the long run, a player’s expected “luck” is similar to the statistical average for the night. While luck is always present in poker, it also diminishes with the number of hands dealt. Thus, the expected value of a hand in poker is very close to a bell-shaped curve.

In a standard game, a player has two cards in his hand: a hole card and a board card. In a game with seven or more players, it is a good idea to have poker chips on hand. Poker chips come in a variety of colors and are generally worth the same amount. The lowest-value chip is a white chip, while the highest-valued is a red chip. In a game of poker, players may also use a blue chip, which is worth two, four or five reds.

If a player has two distinct pairs of cards, the highest pair wins. If no pair is present, the second pair wins. In a tie, the highest card is higher.