Poker is a card game played with incomplete information. You don’t know what cards your opponents have, how they’ll bet and play those cards, or which cards will be dealt next. You make decisions under uncertainty by estimating probabilities. In poker, as in finance and other areas, this requires an open mind and careful consideration of the different scenarios that could occur. It also means learning to read your opponents and observing how experienced players react.

There are several different variants of poker, but most share the same basic rules. Each player is dealt two cards (his or her “hand”) and five community cards are then dealt (“the flop”). The aim is to make the best possible 5-card hand using your own two cards and the community cards. Players bet in the order of their turn to act, with a player able to call a bet if they have enough chips to cover it.

Depending on the type of poker, some rounds have blind bets in addition to or instead of an ante. The player on the left of the dealer button makes the first blind bet, and then the players take turns in clockwise order.

The game has evolved from a variety of earlier vying games, including Belle, Flux & Trente-un (French, 17th – 18th centuries), Post & Pair (English and American, 17th – 19th centuries) and Bouillotte and Brag (French, late 18th – early 19th century). The game became popular in the United States in the 1920s.