Poker is a card game for two or more players. The object of the game is to win the pot, which is the sum total of all bets made in a single hand. The bets are made by putting chips into the center of the table, called the pot, or by raising one’s hand. Poker can be played by any number of players, from 2 to 14, although the ideal number is 6. Depending on the rules of the game, one or more players are required to place an initial amount in the pot before the cards are dealt. These bets are called antes, blinds, or bring-ins.

When the betting round begins, each player must either match or raise the previous bet (called “calling”) or fold and forfeit any additional involvement in the hand. A player may also choose to “check,” which means they will pass on their turn without raising or matching any other bets.

A strong hand can be bluffed successfully, so it is important to study your opponents and learn how to read their betting patterns. Conservative players tend to fold early in the hand, while aggressive players risk a lot of their chips very quickly.

Position is important, as it gives you “bluff equity,” which means simple and cheap bluffing opportunities. It also lets you see the board better, so you can make accurate value bets.