Poker is a card game that has many different variations, but it is mostly played in the same way. Unlike most casino games where players bet money into the pot as a result of a forced bet from another player, poker is a card game that involves the putting up of money by players voluntarily and on a basis of expected value based on their decisions and strategies in the game.
The first round of betting begins once all the players have received their 2 hole cards. This is initiated by 2 mandatory bets called blinds put into the pot by the players on the left of the dealer.
Once the first betting round is complete the dealer deals 3 community cards face up on the board. This is called the flop. Then a second round of betting begins, with players having the option to call or raise.
A big part of being a good poker player is paying attention to the other players and reading them. While some of this is done through subtle physical tells, a large portion is done by observing patterns. For example, if a player calls every time then you can assume they are playing pretty strong cards. If a player always folds then you can assume they are playing very weak hands.
When it comes to raising a hand, be very careful with your aggression. A lot of players get caught up in trying to make the “best” poker hand and end up calling with hands that could have been better if they just raised.