Poker is a card game in which players place bets on the outcome of a hand. There are many variations of the game but most share certain principles. In most cases the object is to win the pot, which is the sum of all bets made in a single round. A player can win the pot by having a winning poker hand or by making a bet that no one else calls.
The game is played from a standard pack of 52 cards, with some games adding jokers or specific rules for wild cards. A poker hand consists of five cards, and the highest ranking hand wins. There are four suits, but no suit is considered higher than any other. Some poker games also allow players to exchange cards, either during or after a betting round.
Before a hand begins, players are forced to make an initial bet, called the ante or blind bet. The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals them to the players, starting with the player to his or her right. Depending on the variant of poker, some of the cards may be dealt face-up while others are dealt face-down.
A good poker player knows how to read other players and pick up on their tells. These are unconscious habits that can reveal information about a player’s hand. They can include anything from a slight change in posture to eye contact or a particular gesture.