The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game that involves skill and luck, and can be played for money or in tournaments. The game has many variations, but all share certain basic features. The object of the game is to make a high-ranking poker hand by using the cards in your possession and those of your opponents. The highest poker hand is a royal flush, which is four matching cards of the same rank in one suit. Other high-ranking hands include a straight and three of a kind. A player can also win the pot by making a bet that other players do not call, which is called bluffing.

The game is normally played between two and 14 players, with the number of players affecting how the game plays. Each player puts an amount of money into the pot before the cards are dealt, which is called placing an ante or blind bet. Players then act in turn, betting and raising depending on their cards and the strength of their opponents’ hands. If a player can no longer compete for the pot, they may discard their cards and be said to fold.

Before the first round of betting begins, each player must choose whether to call a previous raise. When a player calls, they must put in the amount of money that the person before them raised. If a player calls more than the previous raiser, they must also place more in the pot than they had originally put in (called splashing the pot). If a player does not call the last raise, they are said to drop out of the original pot and are only competing for the side pots.