Poker is a game of strategy in which players bet to win the pot. Players choose their actions based on a range of factors, including psychology and the probabilities involved in each situation. The aim of a poker hand is to have the highest ranked combination of cards.

To begin the game, the player who is left of the dealer button places a bet. Normally, this bet is equal to the size of the second blind.

The first player to place a bet is said to be the bettor. If no other bettor makes a bet in this round, the betting phase is over. However, if there is a bet from one or more other players, the betting interval may continue.

The betting interval is usually followed by a showdown, when the highest ranked poker hand is revealed. At that point, the winning pot is awarded to the winner.

A pot is the aggregate of the bets made by all players in one deal. Depending on the rules of the particular game, the pot may be split between the highest and lowest hands. In some games, such as Five-card Draw, all of the high-ranking hands are awarded the pot.

When a player folds, he forfeits the right to the original pot. On the other hand, if a player calls, he increases his stake. This is known as a raise.

Most modern poker games use a forced bet, also called an ante. The ante is a contribution to the pot.