Poker is a card game in which players bet on the value of their hands. The higher the hand, the more money it is worth. Players may also bluff, betting that they have a good hand when they do not. This can force other players to call the bet and reveal their cards, or it can allow players with weaker hands to win a pot by bluffing.
The earliest reference to poker in print is from 1694, and it was likely an ancestor of other card games like blackjack and rummy. The game is very popular, both online and in real casinos, with more than 100 million people playing it annually worldwide. There are countless variants of the game, but all share certain essential features.
A standard poker hand consists of five cards. Each card has a rank in inverse proportion to its mathematical frequency, with the highest being a royal flush (ace, king, queen, and jack of the same suit) and the lowest being two of a kind. Ties are broken by the highest unmatched cards, or secondary pairs (three of a kind and a pair).
The dealer deals one pack of cards to each player in turn face up, starting with the person to his or her left. Then the players alternately shuffle and cut the pack until a jack appears. When shuffling, it is usually a good idea to do several shuffles to make sure the cards are thoroughly mixed.