What is Poker?

Poker is a card game played between individuals for an amount of money or chips contributed by the players themselves (called the pot). Individuals compete to control the total size of the pot through betting intervals that depend on their prediction of what their opponents are likely to do. The underlying skill of the game is minimizing losses with poor hands and maximizing wins with good ones. Despite its long history, poker has gained immense popularity in the early 21st century. This spike was largely due to the widespread availability of poker on television, which turned it into a spectator sport.

One player acts as a dealer, rotating a token called the button clockwise after each hand. Players to the left of the button are forced to put a certain amount of money into the pot before they receive their cards, while those on the right may opt to raise the bet. The dealer deals each player two cards face down, which are known as the hole cards.

Players protect their own hole cards by placing their hands or other objects on them, or by using their betting chips to cover them. In some games, a player can also place a single low-denomination chip on top of their cards to show that they are all-in.

It is generally considered to be bad form to try to see another player’s hole cards, though this is not always strictly against the rules. For example, when Triton founder Ali Imsirovic peeled Paul Phua’s cards at a streamed event in April, it was against the rules but probably not technically cheating.