Poker is a card game in which players bet on the strength of their hand. The player with the highest-ranking five-card hand wins the pot, or the aggregate sum of all bets in a single deal. The game can be played by any number of people, but the ideal number is six or seven. There are many different variants of the game, and the rules vary slightly from one to the next. However, the game is fundamentally the same in all forms.

In most games, the players put in chips (representing money) when it is their turn to bet. These chips are placed in a special fund called the pot. The pot is used to pay for new decks of cards, and any chips left in the pot when a game ends belong to the players who were still in the game.

During a betting round, players may call (match) the previous player’s bet, raise it or concede. Increasing the amount of money that a player places in the pot increases his chances of winning the hand. Players may also bluff, betting that they have a better hand than they actually do.

In most games, the person to the left of the dealer has first chance to bet. Then the bets pass clockwise around the table. If you have a weak hand off the flop, consider checking and folding instead of betting. This will save you money and force weaker hands out of the pot.