Known as one of the most popular card games, poker is played in a variety of venues and locations throughout the world. In the United States, the game has gained a reputation for being the national card game. Various forms of the game exist, ranging from traditional table games to more modern forms played on the Internet. Although poker is considered a member of the family of comparing and card games, its origins are unclear. Some argue that it was introduced to French settlers in New Orleans by Persian sailors, but other historians claim that its development may have come from earlier games, including primero and as nas.
A standard poker game involves three rounds of betting, with each round beginning with a deal and an interval of betting. The dealer deals one card to each player face down, and another card face up. Each player may bet a specified amount or make a forced bet, which is a blind bet. Normally, a hand must match a previous bet in order to continue the round. However, in some variations, a poker player may be allowed to bet more than the previous bettor.
The betting interval is followed by a showdown, in which the best hand is revealed. The pot may be won by the highest-ranking hand, or by making a bet that no other player calls. A poker showdown may also occur when more than one player remains in contention. Some players win side pots, which are awarded to different players. The best hand is usually the best five-card combination, or a straight. In some games, the ace may be treated as the lowest card.
There are a variety of variants of the game, based on the number of cards dealt, the deck layout, the rules of play and the number of betting rounds. Some of the more popular variations are draw poker, five-card draw, seven-card stud and stud poker.
The rules of the game vary by location and the type of variant. The game may be played with one or more tables, and the number of cards dealt may vary. The number of betting rounds and the amount of cards shared among all players also differ. The earliest form of the game was played with 20 cards. Today, the game is played with a 52-card English deck. During the American Civil War, the game was known as stud poker, and a wild card was introduced to the mix. During the 1900s, the game was played with a deck of cards, and lowball and split-pot poker were developed.
A pot is the aggregate of all bets placed by all players during the round. A pot is won by the best five-card poker combination or a bet made that no other player makes. The ante is the amount that a player must contribute to the pot before the first betting interval. Some players also participate in pot-limit contests, where the maximum amount that a player can contribute to the pot is limited.