Poker is a card game in which players compete to win the pot, or the aggregate amount of bets made by all players during a single deal. The cards are dealt face down and the object is to have the highest-ranking hand when all players reveal their cards. The game can be played with anywhere from 2 to 14 players, though the ideal number is 6 to 8 players. The game is played using chips, which are exchanged by players for cash prior to each betting interval. Players place their chips into the pot either voluntarily (to make a bet) or by force (when they are raised by another player).
In most forms of poker, each player receives two cards and then makes a decision to stay in the hand or fold it. If a player stays in the hand, he must bet an amount equal to or greater than the amount raised by the previous player. This is called a raise and it forces all other players to call the bet or fold their cards.
Bluffing is an important part of the game, and it is essential that you know when to bluff and when to value bet your hands. However, it is important to balance this with your relative hand strength. You should not be bluffing too often as this will only confuse your opponents.
When you play poker, it is best to start at the lowest stakes possible. This way, you can learn the game versus weaker players and improve your skill level without risking too much money.