The game of poker is a card game where players place bets on the strength of their own hand and the cards in the community. The underlying skill of the game is to minimize losses with poor hands and maximize winnings with good ones. In addition, the game requires a certain amount of mental toughness. If you want to see a master of the game in action, watch videos on YouTube of Phil Ivey taking bad beats.

In many games the dealer deals out one or more cards to each player, after which a series of betting intervals takes place. The amount of money that can be bet per player depends on the rules of the game being played. For example, some games may require that a player pay in a small amount to be dealt a hand, while others allow the player to raise or call at any time in the course of a betting round.

Most games of poker are played with six to ten players. The person to the dealer’s immediate left is called the button and must pay a forced bet before receiving his or her own cards. This is known as a blind. The player to the right of the button must also pay a forced bet, usually twice the amount of the small blind.

Players must protect their cards by holding them or placing a chip on top of them. Failure to do so results in the card being mucked by the dealer and considered “folded.” In some situations players who are not present will have their hands protected for them by another player sitting at the table, or by a special sign, such as a hat, on the table.