Poker is a card game played with chips that represent money. A hand of poker is decided by a showdown in which players reveal their cards and bet. The aim of the game is to minimize losses with poor hands and maximize winnings with good ones. The game of poker requires some degree of skill and psychology, but most of all it is a game of chance.

Before a hand begins, one player is designated as dealer (in a casino this is provided by the house). He or she makes forced bets, called an ante and a blind, and deals each player two cards face down, known as hole cards. The player to his or her immediate right then cuts. The dealer then shuffles the deck and proceeds to deal each player cards in the order indicated by the cut.

A standard 52-card pack of poker cards is used, typically with the addition of one or two jokers. The cards have ranks of clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades and are printed on both sides in contrasting colors. Often, two packs of cards are utilized in order to speed the dealing process.

When a player voluntarily verbally declares that he or she will take an action, such as calling, raising, folding, or showing a hand at draw, the action is binding. The same applies to putting all of a player’s playable chips into the pot during a hand, a move referred to as all-in.