Poker is a card game that involves betting. Players are dealt two cards, then five community cards are placed face up on the table (known as the “river”). Each player aims to make a 5 card “hand” using their own two cards and the community cards. The highest hand wins the pot. A major skill in poker is understanding your opponents, especially reading their tells. These are unconscious habits, such as a change in posture or facial expression, that reveal information about the state of their hand.

Before a hand is played, each player must place into the pot chips representing money (“the pot”) equal to or higher than the total staked by the player to his left in the previous betting interval. This is called “calling.” If you call, then when it’s your turn to act, you must either raise or fold your hand.

There are many different poker variants, but they all involve a similar set of rules. Generally, each player has the same number of chips, and each chip has a value based on its color: white chips are worth one unit, red chips are worth five units, and blue chips are worth twenty-five units. The game is almost always played with a full deck of cards. If the deck is not full, a shuffle must be made before a hand is played. If the cards are reshuffled after the shuffle, any player may cut them.