A Beginner’s Guide to Poker

Poker is a card game in which players wager chips (representing money) against each other. The objective is to win the pot, which is the sum of all bets made during one deal. A player may win the pot by having a high-ranking poker hand, or by making a bet that no other player calls. The game can be played by 2 to 14 people, but the ideal number of players is 6.

A successful poker player must possess several skills. These include patience, the ability to read other players and the ability to calculate pot odds and percentages. In addition, a good poker player must be committed to smart game selection, which is the process of selecting the proper games for his or her bankroll and skill level.

When it is your turn to act, you must place chips into the pot equal to the amount raised by the player before you. This is called putting in your “ante.” When it is your opponent’s turn, you can call his or her bet or raise it further. If you raise, the other players must match your raise or fold.

The best way to make your opponents think you have a strong hand is to mix up your play style. If you always play the same type of hand, your opponents will quickly learn what you are holding and will be less likely to pay off your bluffs. In addition, you should also learn to read other players’ tells, such as their eye movements, idiosyncrasies and betting behavior.