How to Play Poker

Poker is a card game in which players wager chips (representing money) into the pot. The objective is to have a higher-ranking poker hand than the other players. In most forms of the game, the player who bets the highest wins the pot. Players may also choose to bluff in an attempt to influence other players’ decisions.

In most games, each player must first place a small amount of money (the “ante”) into the pot before being dealt cards. Then, in turn, each player may choose to either call the bet made by the player before him, raise it, or fold. If at least one player raises, a showdown takes place where the hands are revealed and the player with the best hand wins the pot.

When playing poker, it is important to be able to read the other players. This means learning their tells – how they hold their cards, their idiosyncrasies, betting patterns etc. For example, a player who often calls and then suddenly raises could be holding a strong hand.

As a general rule, it is a good idea to open the betting with a premium opening hand, such as a pair of Kings or Queens. By doing so, you will force weaker players to make difficult decisions. This can help you build a large pot by attracting more money from the other players in the table. Then, when the Flop, Turn and River come in, you can bet big and make your opponents nervous enough to fold.