Poker is a card game in which players wager chips (representing money) against each other. The object of the game is to make a better hand than the other players. Players may raise (match or increase) the amount bet by other players, or “fold” and forfeit their right to compete for the pot. The game can be played with any number of players, from two to fourteen. A common variant has six or seven players.
The game begins with one player, designated by the rules of the specific poker variant being played, making a forced bet – usually a blind bet. The dealer then shuffles and deals cards to each player, beginning with the person to his or her immediate left. The cards are either dealt face up or face down, depending on the particular variant of poker being played. After the first round of betting, additional cards are dealt to some or all players. In most forms of poker, these additional cards form the “flop” and a new round of betting commences.
In most cases, a player may continue to call (match or increase) the bet of any other player until the player who made the original bet calls no more. This is called a “call,” or to put into the pot. Players also may choose to raise (increase the bet by a certain amount) or fold. A player who folds his or her hand loses the rights to compete for the pot and must drop out of the current deal. If a player drops out of the main pot, he or she also drops out of any side pots, as well.