Poker is a card game in which players place bets that contribute to the overall amount of money in play, called the pot. Players with the best poker hands win the pot. Poker is played from a standard deck of 52 cards, although some variant games use multiple packs or add wild cards. Cards are ranked (from high to low) A, K, Q, J, 10, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2; the suits are spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. Some games allow wild cards to take any rank or suit, while others specify which cards are wild (dueces, one-eyed jacks, etc).

The dealer shuffles the pack and deals each player two cards face down, called hole cards. Then the first of several betting rounds begins. Between each round the players’ hands develop. The winner of the final betting round takes the pot.

Some games require players to place forced bets before each round, usually an ante and a blind bet. Players with the highest cards in their hands win the pot, but they must pay attention to the other players’ bets because bluffing can help them improve their chances of winning.

You can learn to read the betting patterns of other players by identifying tells. For example, if a player blinks excessively or holds their breath while looking at their chips it’s likely that they have a strong hand. Similarly, if you see someone staring at their own chips with a worried expression they are probably bluffing.