The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game that involves betting and the ability to read your opponents. It also requires a good understanding of odds and the ability to make big bluffs when needed.

A player starts the hand by putting in an ante. They then get 2 cards that they can keep or discard. After that, they must put in the same amount as the person to their left. This is called the call. If you have a great hand and want to keep it, you can say “sit.” If you think your hand is weak and want to double up, you can say hit.

Once the initial round of betting is complete the dealer puts three community cards on the table that everyone can use (called the flop). At this point, you can raise or fold your hand. If you raise, the other players must call you to see if they can beat your hand.

You should learn to spot conservative players from aggressive players, which will help you determine when to bet and how much. The best way to do this is by observing the behavior of players at your table, which will give you a better idea of their tendencies and playing styles.

Another important skill is learning how to use poker statistics. For example, knowing how to calculate pot odds will help you know if it makes sense to call with your draw or not. This can save you a lot of money in the long run, especially if you are chasing your draws and paying too much for them.