Poker is a card game where players wager money (chips) on a hand of five cards. Different poker games have a variety of rules, but most involve betting rounds and a showdown. The best hand wins the pot.

The game is played with a standard pack of 52 cards, but some variant games use multiple packs or add jokers. Cards are ranked from high to low (Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten), with the highest pair winning. Some games also use wild cards (usually spades, hearts or diamonds) to take the place of any other suit.

In most poker games, each player must make a forced bet (the amount varies by game) before being dealt cards. This bet goes into the middle of the table, called the pot. Each player then decides whether to call the bet, raise it or fold. If they say “raise,” the other players must either match or raise their new bet. If they say “fold,” they give up their cards and collect the bets that have already been made.

One of the most important skills in poker is reading other players. A good poker player will often know when to fold and when to play, based on the other players’ tendencies and how they have behaved in previous hands. This is not easy to learn from books, but it can be learned by paying attention to how other players react during the game and analyzing their habits.