How to Play Poker


Poker is a game of chance, but it also requires quick instincts and the ability to read your opponents. It is important to learn from experienced players and observe how they play. You can also practice by watching online poker games to improve your own skills.

The game begins when each player is dealt two cards, called hole cards. These are placed face down on the table. There are then several rounds of betting, during which the community cards are dealt in three stages: first a series of three cards, known as the flop; then an additional card, known as the turn; and finally the final card, called the river.

During each of the betting intervals, a player may choose to call a bet (put chips into the pot that his opponents must match or raise) or fold. If he folds, he loses all the chips that he has put into the pot.

The object of the game is to win chips from your opponents by either having a good hand or bluffing successfully. If you bluff, you can make a great deal of money with just a weak starting hand. This is because the stronger your hand, the fewer people will be willing to bet against it. But if you don’t have a strong hand, you can still win by playing your best and making the most of your chances. The key is to weigh up your chances of winning and losing before you play.