Poker is a game of chance, but also requires a great deal of skill. A good player can make money off of weak hands by betting aggressively. They can also lose a lot of money by not betting when they should.

A player begins a hand by placing an amount of chips in the pot, called an ante or blind bet. The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals them out to the players, one at a time starting with the player to the left of the dealer. Then the first of what may be several betting rounds starts.

During the betting rounds, players reveal their cards in order to bet against other players. A player who has the best hand wins the pot. The pot can be increased by raising the bets placed into the table.

When a player wants to increase their bet but doesn’t want to risk losing their hand, they say “call.” This means that they will raise the amount of the last player’s bet by adding more chips or cash into the pot.

It is important to know how to read other players’ tells, the unconscious habits and idiosyncrasies that reveal information about a player’s hand. You can use these to help build tension and develop a story. For example, a player who calls often and then suddenly raises a lot of money may be holding an amazing hand. You can describe how their body language changes, what their facial expressions look like, and the by-play between other players to add interest to your story.