Poker is a card game that requires skill and strategy to win. There are many variations of the game, but all are played with cards and chips. Players place an initial amount of money into the pot before being dealt cards, called antes or blinds. When betting rounds are over, the hand is revealed and the player with the best hand collects the pot.
A basic hand of poker consists of a pair, three of a kind, four of a kind, or a straight. A pair consists of two cards of the same rank, and a straight consists of five consecutive cards of one suit. The higher the hand, the more valuable it is.
The story of poker is not just about the cards — it is also about the people and their reactions to the game. Writers can create a sense of tension and drama by focusing on the by-play between players, such as who flinched, smiled or bluffed. They can also highlight the social interaction between players, such as the verbal back-and-forth that often takes place during a game.
Depending on the rules of a particular game, there are usually several betting rounds. During each round, a player may call, check, fold or raise the current bet. Typically, each player does not place their bets directly into the pot, but rather places them toward it (called splashing) until the betting round is over. It is common for players to keep track of the total amount of bets in a given round, which is called the pot.