Poker is a card game where players place bets against each other for the chance to win a pot. Although the outcome of a hand is partly determined by luck, players choose their actions for strategic reasons. These decisions are based on probability, psychology, and game theory. Players may also bluff, betting that they have a strong hand while attempting to induce calls from players with weaker hands.

The game begins when a player places an initial forced bet into the pot, known as an ante or blind bet. The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals each player 2 hole cards. Each player must then put into the pot a number of chips (representing money) equal to the total contribution of the player before them. The cards are dealt face up or down, depending on the poker variant.

Once everyone has their 2 cards, there is a betting round that starts with the first player to the left of the dealer. This player can decide to hit, stay, double up, or fold his hand.

As each player acts, the remaining community cards are revealed on the flop. At this point, the players can bet by checking (making no bet), calling, raising, or re-raising. Each decision is based on the strength of your starting hand, your position at the table, and the actions of other players. For example, players in late position usually have more information than those in early positions and can take advantage of this by raising the blind bets.