The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players place bets against one another, with the goal of winning a pot (the sum total of bets). There are many different forms of poker, and rules for a hand vary depending on the specific game. Players may choose to call, raise, or fold. The game is played in private homes, casinos, and other venues. It has become an American pastime, and its play and jargon have become part of popular culture.

During the first phase of betting, each player is dealt two cards, called hole cards. Then, five community cards are dealt in three stages — a flop, then an additional card, called the turn, and then a final card, called the river. After this, the players reveal their hands and the player with the best hand wins the pot.

Before a player places a bet, he must put some amount into the pot. These forced bets are called antes, blinds, or bring-ins and come in various forms.

When someone says “call,” it means to make a bet that is the same as the last person’s bet or higher. If a player wants to raise the bet, he must say “raise.” A player may also bet all of his chips in one go, which is called going all-in. If a player can’t raise the last raise, he must either call or fold.