Poker is a card game that requires both skill and luck to win. Unlike most casino games, poker is played against other players and the object of the game is to form a high-ranking poker hand by betting on it. The game can be played by any number of players, from two to 14, although a typical poker table has six or seven players. The player with the highest-ranking poker hand wins the pot, which is the sum of all bets made during a deal.
Depending on the rules of the specific game, the players may be required to place an initial contribution into the pot, called an “ante.” Once all the players have a set number of cards, a round of betting begins.
Each player must put into the pot at least as many chips as the player to his left or face a penalty, usually losing the right to bet in the next round. This system allows players to minimize losses with bad hands while maximizing winnings with good ones.
To place a bet, the player says either “call” or “raise.” If you say “call,” then you must match the last person’s bet by placing chips into the pot. If you say “raise,” the other players will go around in a circle and choose whether or not to call your raise. If nobody calls your raise, then you must fold your cards. If you have a strong poker hand, you should always try to force weaker hands into the pot by raising!