Poker is a card game enjoyed in countries all over the world. It is played by individuals and teams for money or chips contributed by players themselves (the pot).

Players begin the hand with two face-down cards, called hole cards. These cards are used to construct a five-card poker hand.

After the initial betting round, each player is dealt three more cards in a clockwise direction. Each player has one turn to act according to the cards they were dealt. The first player to act is the one seated left of the big blind (under the gun).

Before the cards are dealt, forced bets are made by two players, called the “big blind” and the “small blind.” These bets are usually equal to half of the minimum bet. An ante, a forced contribution by all players, may be added in later stages of tournament play.

A player may also choose to check, which is a bet of nothing. However, if no one else has made a bet in the betting interval, a player who checks must call or raise their bet.

Poker is a popular social activity, with people from all walks of life playing for pennies or matchsticks to thousands of dollars at famous casinos. Despite its reputation as a luck-based game, it requires great skill to win.