Poker is a card game played by two or more players and involves betting between rounds. A player may “call” the amount of chips placed into the pot by the players to his or her left, raise that amount and continue betting, or drop (“fold”), in which case they must discard their cards and lose any chips they have already put into the pot.
At the beginning of each hand, each player “buys in” for a set number of chips. These can be as low as one white chip and as high as five red chips. Once everyone has bought in, the dealer shuffles the cards and deals each player two hole cards.
Each round of betting starts with a player placing mandatory bets into the pot (called blind bets). Then the cards are dealt, starting with the player on the left of the dealer. Each player is then required to place bets into the pot in turn, or drop their hands if they are not happy with them.
To play well, a player must develop quick instincts and be able to read the other players. This is usually done by studying their tells, which are their eye movements and idiosyncrasies, as well as the way they bet. For example, if a player frequently calls and then suddenly makes a large raise, they are probably holding a good hand. This is often the time to bluff. If a player is a natural bluffer, the other players will quickly pick up on this and be more wary of calling their raises.