How to Play Poker

There are many different ways to play poker, but they all involve dealing cards and betting over a series of rounds. Each round ends when a player has the highest hand and the winner collects the pot of money placed by all players. While some amount of luck is involved, a large part of the game is determined by the actions of the players based on probability, psychology, and game theory.

Before the first betting round begins, each player must make a forced bet, usually called an ante or blind bet (or both). This money is added to the pot and used to fund all later betting.

After the antes are placed, the dealer shuffles the cards and deals them to each player starting with the person to their left. A total of seven cards are revealed to the players – two personal cards in each hand and five community cards on the table. Each player may then choose to raise, call, or fold their hand.

Saying “call” means you want to bet the same as the person to your right. If they raise their bet, you can say “raise” to increase the amount of money you are betting, though you must match the previous high bet or you will fold your hand.

If you are holding pocket kings on the flop and everyone is calling, it might be time to fold your hand. However, if the flop is A-8-5, you might have the best hand and be able to beat all the other players.