Poker is a card game in which players compete to form the highest-ranking hand from two cards dealt face down (the hole cards) and five community cards dealt in three stages: the flop, a single additional card (“the turn”) and a final card (“the river”). Each player must use these seven cards to make their best poker hand. Players can bet, call, raise, or fold.
The rules of poker are determined by the game’s specific rules and are usually published in a written format. In some cases, the tournament organizer may decide to add or change the rules of a particular game without the agreement of the players. These changes will then be considered official.
Generally, poker is played with a standard 52-card pack plus one joker. The cards are ranked from high to low: Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10. Some games also feature wild cards (usually deuces or one-eyed jacks).
Each round of betting in a poker game involves an interval during which the players can place wagers. In most games the first player to act may bet, raise or drop. In some games, a player may choose not to bet during a betting interval; this is known as checking.
Depending on the game, players may be required to contribute an initial amount, called the ante, into the pot before the cards are dealt. This is done to ensure that all players have an equal opportunity to raise their bets. Some poker games also have a special fund, called the kitty, into which players can contribute low-denomination chips. This money is used for things such as paying for new decks of cards, and food and drink.