The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players wager money on the strength of their hands. It is a game of chance, but can be influenced by skill, psychology and game theory. It can be played with anywhere from two to seven players and is usually played with chips of different colours, values and denominations.

At the start of a hand, each player puts in some number of chips into the pot – this is called calling. When it is the player’s turn to act, they can either call, raise (put in more than the amount called), or drop their cards and leave the hand. The player who has the highest ranked hand of five cards wins the pot.

Each round of betting takes place after the dealer deals each player a complete hand of cards. Then three more cards are dealt face up on the table, known as the community cards. The players may now choose to raise their bets on the basis of the community cards and what they know about the other players’ previous actions.

When you have a good poker hand, it is important to keep your opponent guessing. You can do this by making moves that are difficult to read. For example, if you have a pair of pocket queens on the flop but bet small and often, your opponents will probably think you are holding a weak hand and are likely to fold.