Poker is a card game in which players bet chips (representing money) into a pot according to the rules of the variant being played. Each player acts in turn, either raising the amount he is betting or folding his hand. A winning hand is determined by comparing the strength of each player’s cards against the others in the table, with the highest card breaking ties. The game is played in cash games and tournaments, both with fixed stakes.

A dealer is chosen to shuffle and deal the cards, which are placed face down in front of each player. Depending on the game, there may also be a button or other device used to signal to the players when it is their turn to act.

The game of poker is often described as a game of chance, but in truth the best players are highly skilled and make decisions based on logic and reading other players. This is a skill that can be applied to many areas of life, from getting ahead at work to making the right decision in a relationship.

The strongest poker hands are made up of pairs, three of a kind, straights, and flushes. A pair contains two cards of the same rank, three of a kind are 3 distinct cards of one rank, and a straight is 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. The highest card breaks ties when the top two hands are identical, with the next higher card breaking ties if they still equal.