Poker is a card game in which players wager chips (representing money) against each other. The object of the game is to win the pot, which is the sum total of all bets made in a single deal. Players win the pot by having the highest-ranking poker hand at the end of the showdown. In addition, a player may also win side pots by making bets that other players call.

The game is typically played with a minimum of six players, and a maximum of fourteen. In most forms, each player is required to make a forced bet (either the ante or blind) before the dealer shuffles and deals cards to each player one at a time. Players are then free to raise, call or fold their hands.

There are many variations on the rules of Poker, but in most forms the first bettor is the player with the strongest poker hand showing in his face-up cards. The dealer then places in the pot the amount of chips (representing money) needed for the player to call his bet, or more if he chooses.

A good poker player is able to determine his opponent’s range, i.e. what sort of hands he’s likely to be playing, and will bet large amounts with his best hands and small amounts as bluffs at some predictable frequency. This way, he can maximize his winnings with strong hands and minimize his losses with weak ones.