Poker is a card game in which players compete for an amount of money or chips contributed by all players (called the pot). The game combines luck and skill, but the best players minimize their losses with poor hands while maximizing their winnings with good ones. Players use a combination of strategies and bluffing to win. The game is played by amateurs and professionals alike, both at land-based casinos and online.

The official rules of poker require that each player place an initial contribution into the pot before the cards are dealt. This is called putting an ante. The size of the ante may vary, depending on the rules of the game being played. Some games allow a single ante, while others have multiple antes of equal value.

After the ante has been placed, each player is allowed to call, raise, or fold his or her hand. When a player calls, they must bet enough to match the last bet made (for example, if a previous player raised a dime, then the player must raise a dime as well). A player may also raise after calling, but there is typically a limit on how much a person can raise in one round.

Verbally stating that you plan to take a particular action is binding, and you will be held to your decision even if it turns out to be wrong. Raising is usually capped at heads-up play, but when no players are in the same position, unlimited raising is allowed. When a game ends, any chips left in the pot are distributed to the players.