A game of poker involves many decisions. The biggest one is whether or not to play a hand. This decision has a big impact on the outcome of the game, as you must determine if your action will have a positive expectation or will lead to a loss in the long run. As with any other game, you can lose money by making the wrong decision in the short term, but you can win big in the long term.

Poker can be played with any number of players, though a preferred number is six to eight people. The pot is the total of bets by all players in a deal. The highest hand wins the pot. Alternatively, a player can bluff and bet that they have the best hand, only to lose if no other player calls.

In casual play, the right to deal the cards rotates among players, which is marked by a buck (white plastic disc). The dealer is the person who handles the cards in each hand. The dealer button also determines the betting order. The cards are dealt clockwise around the table. If more than ten players are present, two separate games may be held.

In some games, there is a minimum hand required to place a bet. Typically, this hand must be at least a pair of jacks or higher. Occasionally, a player will be required to make a minimum bet before drawing, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.