Poker is a card game in which players compete to win the pot (the sum of all bets made during a single round). The rules are very simple, but there is a lot of psychology and skill involved. Players are dealt cards from a standard 52-card pack, with some variant games adding jokers or other wild cards to the mix.

After the initial deal, one player or multiple players are required to make forced bets, usually an ante or blind bet. The dealer then shuffles the cards, and each player in turn cuts (or is given the option of doing so). Players then receive their cards, which are either face up or face down. A series of betting intervals then commence, with each player placing their bet into the central pot.

A high hand wins the pot. The highest hand is a royal flush, which contains an Ace, King, Queen and Jack of the same suit. Other high hands include a straight, four of a kind and three of a kind. There is also a pair, which is two matching cards, and a high card, which breaks ties.

Beginners must learn to read their opponents and watch for tells. These are unconscious habits or expressions that give away information about the strength of a player’s hand. These can be as subtle as a change in posture or a flick of the wrist. A good player is able to spot these tells and exploit them.