Poker is a game of cards played by two or more people. It has many variations, but in general all poker games involve betting over a series of rounds and the winner is the person who makes a high-ranking hand at the end of the game. It is important to know the basic rules of the game before learning more complicated strategies.

The game begins with a round of betting, usually after all players have received their 2 hole cards. The first player to act must place a bet into the pot, called an ante. Some poker games also require additional forced bets before each deal, known as blinds or bring-ins.

A round of betting continues in a clockwise direction, with each player having the option to call, raise, or fold. A raised bet means the player is putting more money into the pot and is expecting to win. It is usually a good idea to raise when you have a strong hand, since doing so forces weaker hands into the pot and increases your chances of winning.

Another important thing to remember is that your position in the hand determines how much information you have about your opponents’ hands. For example, if you are in last position and the player to your left has just raised their bet, you should consider folding because it is likely that they have a high-quality hand. However, if you are in first position and the player to your left has just called, it is often a good idea to play because this will give you better bluffing opportunities.