Official poker is a card game that requires a certain amount of skill and psychology to play well. A player’s goal is to minimize his losses with bad hands and maximize his winnings with good ones. In order to do so, the player must be able to read his opponents and know what each hand is worth.
There are a number of different poker variants, each with its own unique rules. However, most of them require the same basic elements. Generally, players buy in for a set amount of chips and one player acts as the dealer button. Players to the left of the dealer place forced bets, called the small blind and the big blind, which are usually twice the amount of the minimum bet. Then, two cards are dealt to each player, face down. These are called the hole cards.
The rest of the cards are community, or shared, and can be used by every player to make a hand. The highest hand wins. The cards are ranked as high, low and ace (which is both high and low). Some games also include wild cards, such as the jokers.
A player may call, raise or fold his hand. If he verbally declares that he will do so, he is bound to follow through with his plan, even if another player raises his bet. The only exception is if he has already called a bet, or “checked,” in which case he can remain in the hand by calling any raises.