The game of poker involves a mix of chance and strategy. Players place bets on the likelihood that their hand will rank higher than those of other players when they reveal them at the end of a betting round. The player with the highest ranked hand wins the pot—all the chips put into the pot during that round. Players may also choose to “drop,” meaning they put no chips in the pot and discard their cards. If a player has dropped, they cannot compete for the pot until all other players drop out or their hand is shown.
While there are many variants of the game, most are played in small groups around a table. The game can be very fast-paced, and it is important to read your opponents’ tells—the unconscious habits that reveal information about a player’s thoughts or intentions. These can include eye contact, facial expressions, body language, and gestures.
During a betting interval, each player in turn may either call a bet by putting in the same number of chips as the previous player or raise it by any amount. A player who raises by more than the minimum amount must also leave a minimum number of chips in the pot. This is called a “raise” or “call.” A player who calls a raise must remain in the game until their hand is shown at the showdown, when they may win all of the chips that were placed into the pot.