Poker is a card game that requires a combination of luck and skill. The goal of the game is to form a hand, or group of cards, that has higher value than others in order to win the pot at the end of each betting round. The pot is the total of all bets placed by players.

During each betting round, each player must place chips into the pot, or “bet.” Then, they can either call another person’s bet, raise their own, or fold. In most cases, a player will only call when they have a strong enough hand to beat someone else’s.

Once all players have their two hole cards, the first of what will be several betting intervals begins. This is usually initiated by two mandatory bets called blinds that are put into the pot by the players to the left of the dealer.

After the first betting interval, a new set of five community cards is revealed, called the flop. A second betting period then starts, again with the player to the left of the dealer.

When it comes to poker, the most important thing is understanding how to read your opponents. This includes reading tells and understanding their betting behavior. Another crucial skill is deciding how much to bet. Bet sizing isn’t something that many people think about when they play, but it can make or break a hand. A bet that’s too high will scare off other players, while a bet that’s too low won’t get you the results you want.