Poker is a card game in which players place bets based on the strength of their hands. There are a number of different types of poker, and each variant has its own set of rules. Nevertheless, there are some general rules that all poker games share.

Players must put a certain amount of money into the pot (representing money) to participate in a hand. This is called placing an ante or blind bet. In some games, players may choose to raise or re-raise their bets. This adds additional value to the hands and makes the game more exciting for everyone involved.

After the antes and blind bets are placed, each player is dealt 2 cards, known as their hole cards. A round of betting then begins, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. In some variations, the cards are reshuffled and cut again before another betting period begins.

The cards are dealt out in cycles, and at the end of each cycle there is usually a single community card revealed. A final betting street then takes place, and the player with the best hand wins the pot. Each betting cycle may also contain side pots, which can be won by players who have made raises on earlier streets. Poker is a game of chance, but players make their decisions on the basis of probability, psychology, and game theory. They are also required to keep records and pay taxes on their gambling income.