The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played by two or more players. The object of the game is to win the pot, which is the total sum of all bets made during a betting interval. A player may win the pot by having the highest-ranking hand or by making a bet that no other player calls. The game is available in many different forms and can be played with any number of players from 2 to 14. In fixed-limit games, a limit is usually placed on how much a player may raise during a betting interval.

The game begins when one or more players make forced bets, called an ante and/or blind bets. The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals them to each player one at a time, beginning with the player to their left. The cards are either dealt face up or face down depending on the variant being played. The first of several betting intervals then starts with each player choosing whether to call, raise or fold.

A player who wants to raise the amount of money put into the pot must say “raise.” Players then choose to call or fold.

If you have a good hand, you should always try to bet it. This will force weak hands out of the pot and increase the value of your winnings. However, you should balance this by occasionally bluffing to keep your opponents guessing. It is also important to know which hands are likely to win.