Poker is a card game of chance, but it requires a lot of skill too. Often the best players are the ones who can make decisions on the fly and react quickly to changing conditions. They also know when to be bluffing.

The game can be played with 2 to 14 players. The aim is to win the “pot” – all of the bets placed during any one deal. The player with the highest ranked hand of cards when the players reveal their hands wins the pot. In some cases there may be a tie among the best 5-card hands and in this case, the pot is shared.

Before the cards are dealt, each player puts down a forced bet called a buy-in. These bets are used to create an incentive for players to play. The amount of the bets can vary but are usually agreed at the beginning of a hand. They can be increased by a number of times, known as raising. Once the players have all received their cards, there is a round of betting that starts with the player to the left of the dealer.

After the flop, there is another round of betting. The player with the best 5-card hand wins the pot. If the player doesn’t have a good hand, they can choose to fold and leave the table. The rest of the players continue to place bets until all but one player has folded and this is when the winner is declared.