When you play poker there is a lot of strategy involved in making the best possible hand. The player who has the highest ranked poker hand when all the cards are shown wins the pot (all of the money that players have placed into the betting pool during the hand). The game of poker was derived from several earlier card games including cribbage, jacks or better, and three-card brag.

Before the deal begins each player must make an initial forced bet known as an ante or blind bet. The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals them to each player one at a time, starting with the player to their left. The cards can be dealt face up or face down depending on the variant of poker being played.

After the initial betting round is complete the dealer puts down three community cards on the table which anyone can use, these are known as the flop. Then another betting round takes place. At this stage you must decide whether to call, raise or fold your hands.

A lot of the time you will be bluffing other players and this is where having a good understanding of your opponents is essential. Getting to know your opponents is known as reading them, and this can be done through subtle physical poker tells such as scratching your nose, playing nervously with your chips or even their betting patterns. However, a large part of reading an opponent comes from learning their ranges; that is working out how likely it is that they have a certain hand in particular.