Poker is a card game that’s fun to play, and it’s a good way to pass the time. It’s also a game of skill and strategy, so you’ll need to learn how to read your opponents’ behavior and act accordingly.

Poker has several variants, and the rules vary from deal to deal. It can be played by two to seven players, though the best games are usually played by five or six people.

The game starts with a dealer who deals one card face up to each player in turn. The first jack (J) is dealt to the person on his left; the person who has this card deals next and so on until each player has been given five cards in the stated direction.

Each player’s hand is then revealed and the betting interval begins. In each betting interval, players can either call a bet by putting the same number of chips into the pot as the previous player; raise the bet with more chips than they called; or fold, which means that they put no chips into the pot and discard their hand.

A round of betting typically lasts for three or more rounds, with the final betting interval ending when all players have equalized their bets. After this, a “showdown” takes place in which all the players who are still active show their hands face up on the table.

In the majority of games, players use chips rather than money. This is because it’s easier to count, stack, and make change with chips. However, some players prefer to use cash for several reasons.