The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game played between two or more people with the aim of winning a pot – the sum of all bets made in a hand. It is a game of strategy and chance but also one where skill can make the difference.

The game starts with players placing an ante, the first amount of money they are willing to put into the pot and then getting their cards. After this betting begins and players can choose to check, fold or raise. The player with the highest ranked poker hand wins the pot, which is all of the chips that have been bet in the hand.

A good poker player is always looking beyond their own cards to try and determine what the other players have. They will make decisions based on what they believe their opponent is likely to have and how much pressure they think they can apply.

After the initial betting round is complete (depending on the game) the dealer deals three additional cards face up to the table, these are called the flop. Players then have the opportunity to check, fold or raise again. The dealer then puts a fifth card on the table that anyone can use, this is called the river.

If you have a strong poker hand then it is generally a good idea to be aggressive, especially after the flop. This will help you to price out weaker hands and increase the value of your pot.