A card game played by two or more players, poker is a wagering game where the player with the highest hand wins the pot. It is a game of chance, but can be improved by skill and by understanding the odds.

Each player antes an amount of money (amount varies by game) to get dealt cards. Once the cards are dealt, betting begins in clockwise order until someone raises. At that point the player may either call or fold. A player can also choose to raise their ante again, but they must be able to match the raised amount or more.

Once the first round of betting is complete the dealer puts three community cards face-up on the table, called the flop. These are community cards that everyone can use to make a poker hand. During this stage of the hand the best possible poker hand is a pair of matching cards and the rest of the hand is made from the remaining five cards in the deck.

To be successful at poker you must learn how to read the other players. This means studying their tells, or nervous habits like fiddling with chips or wearing a ring. It also means paying attention to their betting behavior and trying to determine if they are holding a strong or weak hand. Often times a player who calls frequently but suddenly raises is holding a good hand. Knowing when to raise is a key element to winning poker.