Poker is a card game where players place chips (representing money) into a pot before they are dealt cards. A player can then bet on their hand, fold or raise. The player who has the highest ranked hand wins the pot, which is the sum of all the bets made by players during that hand. Often the best hand involves a pair of matching cards, but there are other possible combinations as well.

Depending on the game, players may also be required to put in an initial amount of money into the pot before being dealt their cards. These are called antes, blinds or bring-ins. Usually one player is designated to make the first bet and the others have the option of calling or raising that bet.

Some poker games have betting intervals that are short, while others have betting intervals that are long. The longer betting intervals are usually more fast-paced. The players bet until one player has all the chips or everyone else has folded. Alternatively, the players can “check” (pass on their turn to act) if they do not want to place a bet.

A successful poker player must be able to read the other players. This includes paying attention to how a player holds their cards, how they move their body and the way they talk. It is also important to have good mental skills and to understand how poker odds work. Lastly, it is important to be able to adapt to different poker sessions.