Poker is a card game that involves betting between players and requires skill to minimize losses with bad hands while maximizing winnings with good ones. It can be played with 2, 3, 4, or more cards and has a number of different variants. Some of the variations use different deck configurations, some deal cards face up or down and others have special rules regarding when a player may call, raise, check or fold.
The game originated in the United States in the 1850s. It spread internationally after the American Civil War, when the game had evolved into draw and stud poker games. During this time, the game also gained a reputation as a gambling game.
In most modern Poker games, each player is required to make an initial contribution into the pot, called an ante. This bet is made before the cards are dealt, and can be replaced during the course of a hand, as required by the game rules. The ante is followed by one or more rounds of betting, during which each player must either match or raise the maximum bet that has been raised since the previous turn.
During the course of a hand, each player is able to draw replacement cards to their own hand from the community cards on the table. Each player is then expected to make a 5-card poker hand from their personal cards and the community cards on the table, with the highest hand winning the pot.