The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players compete against each other to put together the best five-card hand. The player with the best hand wins the pot, which can be cash or poker chips. The game originated in Europe, but today is played worldwide.

A round of betting starts after two cards are dealt to each player. Each player can then decide to fold, call or raise. If they call, they must match the highest bet of the previous player or higher. Players can also bluff, although this is not usually very effective.

The most common mistake beginners make is being too passive with their draws. They will often just call their opponent’s bet and hope to hit their hand by the river. Instead, they should be much more aggressive with their draws, as this will force weaker hands out of the pot and allow them to increase their chances of winning.

Position is important in poker because it gives you more information about your opponents’ strength than other players. If you’re first to act, you’ll have less bluff equity and might get raised or re-raised more frequently than players in late position. On the other hand, if you’re last to act, you have more opportunity to steal blind bets with cheeky raises.

When playing pot limit, the maximum amount a player can raise is limited to the total number of chips in the pot. This allows you to keep track of your opponents’ bets and determine how strong or weak they are.