How to Play Poker

Poker is a card game combining skill and chance that can be played in cash games or tournaments. While rules vary between formats, many of the same principles apply. Poker is a fast-paced game in which players wager chips on their chances of having the highest hand. The aim is to win the “pot” (all bets made in a particular betting interval) by making the highest-ranking hand or by forcing others to fold their cards.

There are various ways to play poker, but most games involve a group of people sitting around a table. One person is designated as the dealer, usually by having a button or token placed in front of them. The initial dealer shuffles the deck and gives it to someone clockwise from them, who cuts it. The player receiving the highest card becomes the first dealer, with ties being broken by a repeat deal.

Each player is dealt 2 cards (sometimes called their hole cards) and there are five community cards. The object is to make the best five-card hand using your own two cards and the community cards. Some games may also include ‘jokers’ that can be used as wild cards.

When it’s your turn to act, you can choose to bet (place a bet) or check. If you call a bet, you must match or raise it. You can say “call” or “I call” to indicate you want to place a bet equal to the last bet (if they raised). You can also raise your own bet by saying “I raise”. This is known as raising.