Poker is a card game that is played throughout the world. It is most popular in the United States, where it has become a cultural institution.

The game has various variants. The two most common are cash games and tournaments.

In cash games, one or more players are required to place an initial amount of money into the pot before the cards are dealt. These are called forced bets and come in three forms: antes, blinds, and bring-ins.

During a deal, the dealer shuffles and deals the cards in turn to each player, beginning with the player on their left. The cards are dealt face-up, and the players may then bet.

A betting interval follows, during which a player who has the highest-ranking poker combination in his faceup cards bets first, then each player in turn until the bets are equalized or all the players have dropped their chips. Then there is a showdown, in which each player reveals their hands to determine the winner of the pot.

The winner of the hand is determined by comparing the card rank and suit. If two hands have identical suits, they are tied and both must split the pot.

Although there are many different variations of the game, there are certain basic rules that apply to all versions. These include: