Poker is a card game of chance and skill, where betting raises the stakes. It’s been around for centuries in glitzy casinos and seedy dives, but gained major popularity in the 1970s when it was shown on TV.

There are hundreds of different poker games, and each one has its own rules. However, there are some basic rules that apply to most games. Players put in a bet, called a blind or ante (the amount varies by game) before being dealt cards. The highest hand wins the pot.

To win a hand, you need to have at least two distinct pairs or a straight, flush, or three of a kind. You also need a high card to break ties.

If you don’t have a strong hand, you should fold. Trying to force a weak hand by betting can lead to a big loss.

Practice and watch experienced players to develop quick instincts. Observe their body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice to see how they react to others’ betting.

When it’s your turn to bet, say “call” or “I call” to match the last player’s bet. You then place your chips or cash in the middle of the table to show that you’re calling. If the person to your left raises, say “I call a bet of $10” or “I call a $10 bet.” These examples were automatically compiled from online sources and may not reflect the opinions of Merriam-Webster or its editors.