Poker is a card game played by two or more players. The object of the game is to form the best possible five-card hand according to poker rules, winning the pot at the end of each betting round. The pot consists of the sum of all bets placed by the players, including any forced bets.
Before dealing the cards, each player makes an initial bet, either by raising or checking. The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals them to the players one at a time, beginning with the player to his or her left. Each player is dealt either four or five cards, depending on the variant of poker being played.
After the flop is revealed, each player can choose to raise or call, or fold. If the player calls, then the next betting round begins. A player can also choose to “check” if he or she does not want to make any bets at all.
The turn and river reveal more cards, allowing the players to make more complicated hands. For example, a player may have a pair of jacks and a flush on the board, which is a very strong hand.
A good poker player will learn to read the playing styles of the other players at a table. While there are general skills such as reading facial expressions and body language, the ability to read other players at a poker table involves specific details such as how often a player raises a bet.