The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game with millions of fans. It is often played with 6 or more players, but it can be enjoyed with just two. The object of the game is to win the pot, which is the total of all bets made during a single deal. A player can win the pot by having a high-ranking hand, or by making a bet that no other players call. There are many different forms of poker, but most of them involve betting in some way.

Before the cards are dealt, one or more players may be required to place forced bets, usually in the form of ante or blind bets. These bets create an incentive for players to make decisions. After the forced bets have been placed, a round of betting begins, starting with the player to the left of the dealer.

During each betting interval, the players must decide whether to call, raise or fold. When raising, the player must match or exceed the bet of the previous player. If a player chooses to raise, they must then reveal their cards. Those with the best hands win the pot.

There is a considerable amount of skill involved in poker, but it is important to understand the rules of the game. It is also crucial to be able to read the tells of other players, which are the unconscious habits that reveal information about their hand. This is called reading body language.