Poker is a card game in which players try to make the best poker hand using cards from a standard 52-card deck. Several variant games use multiple packs of cards and/or add a few jokers.

The game begins with a dealer, who distributes one facedown and one faceup card to each player in turn. The first player to act (fold, call the big blind, or raise) is the player closest to the dealer’s left.

Betting rounds occur in clockwise rotation, with the first player to act opening the action in each betting round by placing a bet. This is called “opening the pot” or “opening the round”.

In most limit games, there are a minimum bet amounts that can be placed in each round, and raises must be at least equal to those amount in previous rounds. This rule is intended to prevent a player from raising the same amount repeatedly without increasing his total contribution to the pot significantly.

When a player bets in the pot, all other players may also bet, or fold, which is to place their cards into the middle of the table and lose any bets they have made. The player with the highest hand that has not folded wins the pot.

In all poker games, there are some forced bets before the cards are dealt that are called antes. These ante amounts vary by game, but are typically small, and are put into the pot before the deal begins. In addition, there are other required bets called blinds, which a player must put into the pot before the cards are dealt.