Poker is a card game in which players compete to form the best hand using cards of the same suit. In order to win the pot, a player must place bets higher than those placed by other players. Players can also make bluffs, which increase the value of their hands when other players call them.

The rules of poker vary from game to game, but the basic principles remain the same. One or more forced bets are placed in the center of the table, called the pot, and players then place bets in betting rounds. Each round is ended when a player holds the highest-ranking hand.

Before playing poker, a player must buy in with a certain number of chips. Each chip is worth a specific amount, usually based on the color of the chip: a white chip is worth a minimum ante or blind bet; a red chip is worth five whites; and a blue chip is worth 20 or 25 whites.

The cards are shuffled and cut by the dealer, then dealt to each player in turn, beginning with the player to their left. Each player may then either call a bet or fold, depending on the type of game being played and their own strength of hand.

Advanced players consider their opponent’s entire range of hands in a given situation and play accordingly. They aim to maximize the value of their strong value hands by betting and raising a lot to discourage opponents from calling re-raises. This style of play pushes weaker hands out and increases the chance that a player’s showdown hand will be good enough to win the pot.