Poker is a card game played by two or more players. It is a game of chance, but the outcome of a hand also involves decision making and bluffing skills. Players make decisions based on probability, psychology, and game theory. The aim is to win the pot – the pool of bets placed by all players.
To begin the game each player must buy in with chips. Each chip has a specific value. For example, a white chip is worth the minimum ante or blind bet; a red chip is worth five whites; and a blue chip is worth 20 or 25 whites. At the beginning of each betting round all chips are gathered into a central pot.
After the initial forced bets are made the dealer shuffles the cards and deals them to each player one at a time, starting with the player on their left. The first of what will be several betting rounds begins with each player deciding whether to call or raise.
Once the first round is complete the dealer puts three additional cards on the table that anyone can use. This is called the flop.
If you have a strong poker hand you can start betting at this stage to make other players fold. This will increase the size of the pot and give you a better chance of winning. Alternatively you can choose to check (which means not to bet) and hope that no one else calls your bet.