Poker is a card game played between two or more players and involves betting on the strength of a hand. The highest-ranking hand wins the pot, or the sum of all bets placed in one deal. While the outcome of any particular hand largely depends on chance, winning hands are the result of strategic decisions made by players based on probability, psychology and game theory.

A standard deck of 52 cards is used in most games. The suits are spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. Some games use wild cards or other variants such as jokers. In most forms of the game, players must place an initial forced bet (the amount varies by game but is generally a small number of chips) before they are dealt cards. Once the cards are dealt, a series of betting rounds begins, with each player acting in turn.

The person to the left of each player may choose to “call” the bet, meaning that they will put in as many chips into the pot as the previous player; raise it, which means that they will increase the bet; or fold their cards, which means that they will not call any more bets and will not be part of the current hand. If a player decides to fold, they must discard their cards and are not permitted to play in the next deal.

To make a decision on how much to bet, it’s best to listen and watch what other players are doing. It’s also important to learn to spot conservative players from aggressive players, who often bet high early on in a hand before seeing how the other players react.