Poker is a game of chance where players wager a specified amount of chips in an attempt to beat the other players. The winner is the player with the best hand. Each player must place an equal number of chips in the pot before the round begins. A player who places more than the last bettor is said to raise.

There are several variations of poker, but they all follow a similar pattern. In the most basic form, each player is dealt seven cards, one at a time. These cards may be face down or face up.

One player is designated as the first dealer. The dealer’s task is to shuffle the cards. He can also replace the two cards at the top of the pack with new ones.

Some variant games, such as the Jacks or Better, use a two-pack system. This allows for faster play.

Another variant is stud poker. Stud poker originated in the American Civil War. Cards are ranked from Ace high to low. The highest pair wins, if it exists. Ties break with the second highest card.

Other variants include Three-Card Monte and Spit-in-the-Ocean. Two-pack games use contrasting colors. For example, a red chip is worth five whites, whereas a blue chip is worth 10 or 20 whites.

Most games involve at least a few betting intervals. The amount of chips that each player may put into the pot varies from game to game. The limit is generally set at around ten chips during the final betting round.