The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game played by two or more players. The object of the game is to form a winning poker hand according to the rules of the particular poker variant being played, and then to win the pot at the end of the betting round. The pot is the sum of all bets made during a deal.

Poker can be played with any number of players, from 2 to 14. In most forms of the game, one player has the privilege or obligation to make the first bet each deal. This is called the button or dealer position. If this player does not wish to bet, he may pass.

The other players will then call, raise or fold in turn. The last player to act places his chips or cash into the pot (representing money) to match or raise the amount of the previous player’s bet. If he raises the bet, this is said to “call” or “I call.”

Reading your opponents is an important skill in poker. Being able to pick up on their subtle physical poker tells can give you a huge advantage over them. Learn to look for things like a nervous scratch of the nose or playing with their cards in an awkward way. These tells are more revealing than the actual words they say. Reading your opponents is a complex task that takes time to master but it can be extremely profitable for you in the long run.