Poker is a card game played by two to seven players with each player betting into a central pot using chips based on the strength of their hand. The object of the game is to win the pot, which may be done by either having the highest-ranking poker hand or by making a bet that no other player calls. While the game involves considerable chance, poker strategy involves decisions based on probability, psychology, and game theory.

Before dealing a hand, one or more players are required to put in forced bets, usually called an ante or blind bet. The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals them to each player, starting with the player on their left. The cards are dealt face up or down, depending on the variant being played. There are typically several betting intervals in a deal, and at the end of the final betting interval the players show their hands and the player with the best poker hand wins the pot.

Players can also win poker pots without having the best hand by bluffing. In general, bluffing works by projecting confidence in the strength of your hand so that your opponents will call your bets rather than risk taking on you in a showdown. Doug Polk has written a series of articles on bluffing in poker that is well worth reading. A good rule of thumb is to play a wider range of hands in late positions than in early ones, and especially to avoid calling re-raises with weak or marginal hands.