Poker is a card game in which the players compete for chips. It is played with cards in a circular table, and the object is to obtain the best possible hand (see the following explanation of poker hands).
The highest possible hand is a royal flush, consisting of 10 Jacks, Queens, Kings, and Aces in one suit; it can be broken by any other suited card or by a pair of any other cards (e.g., 4 aces and a 9). Ties are broken by the highest unmatched cards or by a secondary pair (in a full house, for example, where two aces and a 9 are used to make up the five-card hand).
In some games, the ace may optionally be treated as a high card. In these games, 6-4-3-2-A is the lowest possible hand and a pair of aces the lowest pair.
The next lowest hand is a straight flush, which consists of 5 consecutive cards in the same suit. A straight flush can be beaten only by a royal flush or a set (five cards of the same rank).
Another common type of hand is a straight, which consists of five consecutive cards in a single suit. This is a higher-ranking hand than a flush and can be beaten only by a set.
Before the first round of betting, all players must place an ante into the pot, usually a small amount. This gives the pot a value at the start of the game and encourages players to open and raise their bets in order to draw others into the action. This is called splashing the pot, and it can be confusing to watch in a film or TV show because it causes a player to stray from the proper amount when raising.