Poker is a card game in which players wager chips (representing money) in rounds of betting. In each round of betting, a player must place an amount of chips into the pot (the sum total of all bets) that is at least equal to the contribution of the player who raised before him. This amount is called the forced bet. It is a key aspect of the game which distinguishes it from other card games such as bridge or pinochle.
Each player starts with four cards that are visible to all other players. These cards, known as hole cards, are then combined with five community cards dealt face up in a series of three intervals: a series of three cards called the flop; an additional single card, called the turn; and a final card, called the river. This shows everybody what everyone else has and the person with the best poker hand wins the pot.
Knowing when to bluff is a vital part of poker strategy, but you also have to be disciplined enough to fold your cards when you know you are beaten. If you have strong drawing hands like a flush or open-ended straight draw you should bet aggressively to make other players call, but it is important not to over-bluff. It is also good to mix up your play by sometimes playing for value and other times bluffing. This keeps your opponents guessing and makes it harder for them to spot your bluffs.