Poker is a card game in which players place bets that represent money. There are a number of different poker variants, but all involve betting and revealing cards to form hands. A good poker player is able to calculate their chances of winning a hand, and chooses the actions they take in light of that information. This involves elements of probability, psychology, and game theory.

Each player is dealt four cards face down. They then decide whether to fold their hand or call. If they call, they must place chips or cash into the pot equal to the amount raised by the person before them. They can also raise their bet instead of calling.

When a player has a strong hand, they will bet heavily to force out weaker hands and increase the value of their pot. This is called bluffing, and can be very effective when done correctly. A strong bluff can win the game for you even if you don’t have the best hand!

After the first round of betting, three more cards are dealt to the table, known as the flop. This is followed by another round of betting. The final community card is then revealed, known as the river, and there is a showdown. The highest-ranking hand wins the pot.

Depending on the rules of the poker variant being played, players may be required to place an initial amount of money into the pot before their cards are dealt. This is known as a forced bet and comes in the form of antes, blinds, or bring-ins.