Poker is a card game in which players place bets against each other based on the value of their poker hand. Players may use money or chips to place their bets. Chips are normally made of plastic or ceramic and can be exchanged for cash at the end of a hand. Poker can be played with 2 to 14 players. The game is usually contested by several rounds, and the highest-ranking poker hand wins the pot.

A good poker player needs to have a number of skills in order to be successful. These include discipline, focus and confidence. The ability to read people and understand their tendencies is also important. A good poker player will learn to recognize different types of players, such as conservative and aggressive players. Conservative players are more likely to fold early, while aggressive players will often raise their bets.

Before the cards are dealt, each player must make a forced bet, either an ante or a blind bet. The dealer then shuffles the deck and deals each player two cards, face down. These hidden cards are called the player’s hole or pocket cards. After the initial deal, a series of betting phases begins, starting with the player to the left of the button.

Each player can then choose to call the last player’s bet or raise it. To raise a bet, say “raise,” followed by the amount you want to add to the betting pool.