Poker is one of the oldest and most popular card games in the world. It has many variants, and each has a unique set of rules. But all share certain fundamentals. The object of the game is to win the pot, which is the sum of the bets made in any deal. A player may win the pot by having the highest-ranking hand or by making a bet that no other players call.
In most games, a pot is made up of poker chips (representing money). Each player is required to buy in for a minimum amount, called the ante. During each betting interval, the player to his left makes the first bet, and then each player must place in the pot a number of chips equal to or greater than the total contribution made by the player before him. A player who does not raise his bet is said to “call,” and a player who increases his bet is said to “raise.”
Once the pre-flop betting is complete the dealer puts three cards face-up on the table that everyone can use. These are called the flop. If you have a strong poker hand you should bet at it to force weaker hands out of the hand. If you have a bad poker hand you should check and fold.