Poker is a card game in which players independently try to assemble a winning hand of cards, traditionally by placing cash or chips (representing money) into the pot. When it is a player’s turn to act, he can raise or fold his hand. He can also say “check” to pass his turn and continue to watch the action.

A player may also use body language to show whether he is holding a good hand or just bluffing. These revealing actions are called tells and can include the player’s breathing patterns, facial expressions, and the tone and manner of his speech.

The game has become more popular in the 21st century, in part due to the invention of online poker and hole-card cameras that make it possible for players to see the cards their opponents are holding. In addition, the popularity of poker tournaments has increased as a spectator sport.

There are hundreds of variations of poker, but most follow the same basic game play. Each person is dealt four cards. When betting begins, a third card is placed on the table, usually face-up, and another round of betting takes place. If he has a good poker hand, a player will raise his bets. If he has a weak one, he will lower his bets. A poker hand must consist of five cards of consecutive rank, but can include more than one suit; for example, an Ace, Two, Three, Four and Five would form a straight.