In poker, players place bets – called chips – into a pot to compete for the chance to win a hand. Players can also use the pot to bluff and try to deceive other players for various strategic reasons. The game has a variety of rules and variants, and is played by two or more players on a table.

Each player starts the game by purchasing a set number of chips, usually white or light-colored, that represent money. Each chip is worth a specific amount of money, such as a minimum ante or bet. Players then enter the game by placing the purchased chips into the pot in turn, which begins a betting interval.

During each betting interval, one player places a bet that may be either equal to or higher than the previous bet. Each player in turn must either call the bet, raise it, or fold if they do not have a qualifying hand. When a player folds, they leave the game and forfeit any chips they placed into the pot so far.

Learning to play poker requires a combination of luck and skill. To maximize your chances of winning, always remember to play the strongest hands. For example, you should never limp in to a pot; instead, you should fold or raise. By raising, you price all of the worse hands out of the pot, which increases your odds of getting a strong hand. You should also practice reading tells, which are the nonverbal tics and gestures that other players may display to give away their cards or their emotions.