Poker is a card game played by two or more players against one another. The object of the game is to win money by placing bets in a central pot, called a showdown. During the showdown, players reveal their cards and the player with the best five-card hand wins. The game was developed in the United States at some point during the early 19th century, drawing its name and concept from much earlier European games.

When a hand is dealt, it begins with an ante or blind bet by the player to the right of the button (or equivalent position) and the dealer then shuffles the cards and deals each active player two face down and one face up. A betting interval follows and the player in the first-to-act position places chips in the pot – representing money – in accordance with the rules of the game.

Each player is then able to choose whether or not to open the betting by raising the amount of the ante or blind bet by an established amount. If a player chooses not to open the betting, they must call if someone else raises and/or check otherwise.

A pair is a hand of two matching cards of the same rank and three other unmatched cards. When comparing hands with pairs, the higher the pair ranks, the better the hand. If the pairs are equal then compare the highest odd card from each hand; if these are also equal then compare the lowest odd card and so on.