Poker is a card game for two or more players and involves betting real money. It is a popular pastime and a source of recreation or even a profession for many around the world.

There are numerous variants of the game but they all have a few things in common. Each player must purchase a number of chips, typically white ones or light colored ones, to begin the game and each chip has a specific value. A white chip is worth one ante or bet, a red one is worth five whites and so on.

Each betting interval, or round, begins with one player making a bet of one or more chips into the pot. In turn each player must either “call” that bet by putting into the pot at least the same amount as the bet made by the player before him or he may raise his bet, meaning that he puts more than that into the pot. Alternatively, the player may choose to drop (“fold”) his hand and forfeit any chips that he has put into the pot.

Some players try to give away tells by using body language and expressions but this type of information isn’t as reliable as observing betting patterns. Pay attention to the speed of a player’s call and how long he or she takes to make a decision. These can be indicators of a strong or weak hand. It is also important to observe how a player buys in chips as this can be an indication of their style of play.