The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game played throughout the world. In the game, players compete for money or chips (called the pot) contributed by other players. The goal of the game is to have a hand that is considered to be the best possible. There are many variants of poker, but all share a number of common features.

A player can place bets, called “calling” or “raising,” to increase the amount of money in the pot. They may also fold, which means they will not bet or raise.

In some games, the bets are limited to the total of all the chips in the pot at the time the bet is made. This is called a “pot limit.”

The rules of each particular variation will differ, but the basic principles are always the same.

Each player receives a certain number of cards, face down. These cards are shuffled and dealt clockwise around the table, starting with the player to the left of the dealer button.

Before each hand, two players are required to make forced bets, called the “small blind” and the “big blind.” The small blind is a fixed amount of money that is placed in the pot before the cards are dealt; the big blind is a larger bet that can be placed after the initial deal.

After the initial deal, a number of betting rounds may take place, until all the players have seen their cards. At the end of each round, the player with the highest hand wins the pot.