Poker is a card game in which players bet to win a pot (a sum of all bets). The object of the game is to have the highest-ranking poker hand, but it is also possible to make money by bluffing. The game has many different variants and can be played by two or more players.

In most forms of poker, each player is required to place a forced bet at the start of the hand, usually called the ante or blind bet. There are then one or more rounds of betting, during which the poker hands develop.

Players may bet as much as they wish and can raise the amount of previous bets. This is done by saying “call,” meaning to match the last bet. A player can also say “raise,” meaning to increase the amount of money being bet by adding more chips or cash into the pot.

Some players are more conservative, only betting when they have a good hand; this makes them easy to read and can be used to your advantage by bluffing against them. Others are more aggressive, betting high early in a hand to see how other players react.

In most forms of poker, a complete poker hand consists of five cards. Some games, however, use fewer than five cards and the joker (or bug), which counts as an ace but can only be used to form a flush, a straight, or certain special hands.