Poker is a card game that requires players to make bets in order to win the pot. It is a highly competitive game, and players may use their best hand to bluff others.

The basic rules of poker involve a series of betting rounds and a showdown where the hands are revealed and the highest hand wins. The game is played with poker chips, which may be red, white, black, blue or green and have a value that the dealer assigns prior to the start of play.

Before the cards are dealt, each player must put a predetermined amount of money or chips into the pot, which is called an ante. This amount varies by game, but typically is a small proportion of the minimum bet.

After the ante, the dealer deals the cards and all players must place a bet in the center of the table. Betting then continues until everyone calls or folds.

One of the most important aspects of playing poker is determining when to call or raise. The best strategy is to observe other players and develop quick instincts.

If your hand isn’t that strong, you might want to fold rather than try to call a bet. This is because other players are more likely to have a good hand than you are.

You can also check during a betting round, which means that you won’t make another bet until everyone else has called or folded. However, if someone does raise the bet, you have to either match it or fold.