Poker is a card game that pits your cards against the cards of other players. Whether you play Texas Hold’em or Omaha Hi/Lo, the basic principles remain the same: cards are dealt and betting takes place over a series of rounds until someone shows down a winning five-card hand. Among the most important skills that separate amateur and pro players is their ability to assess their own cards and the other players’ actions.

In most poker games one or more players are required to put money into the pot before the cards are dealt. This is called a forced bet and it can come in the form of an ante, blinds, or bring-ins. Regardless of which type of game you choose to play, learning how to place these bets is an essential skill for any serious player.

Once the first betting round is over the dealer deals three cards face-up on the table that anyone can use. This is known as the flop. Then the players must decide if they want to continue betting with their hands or fold.

If you say “call” you are indicating that you will place a bet equal to the last person’s bet. If you have a strong hand you can raise your bets to force other players to fold or even bluff their way into the pot. However, if you have a weak hand like pocket kings on the flop, you may be better off folding.