Poker is a card game that mixes skills for bluffing and betting with the ability to read your opponents. It is popular with people of all ages, and has a variety of rules.

A common rule for most poker games is that players must contribute a small bet called the blind or ante before they are dealt their cards. These give the pot a value right from the start, and they can also help a player win or lose a hand if they are dealt a poor hand.

Once the blind or ante has been contributed, players are dealt five cards. They are then given the option to bet, raise, or pass. They can also discard their cards to improve their hand, and they can again bet after receiving new cards.

During the first round of betting, the player to the left of the big blind acts first. Then the dealer “burns” one card from the deck and deals the first three community cards (the “flop”) face up to the table.

In a series of betting rounds, the player in first-to-act position bets, the player in the second-to-act position checks, and the player in the third-to-act position calls. Once all players have bet, the last player to act shows his or her cards and reveals whether they hold the best hand.

The highest-ranking poker hand wins the pot, which is the sum of all the bets placed in a single hand. The game may also involve several side pots created by additional money bet by the remaining players, separate from the main pot.