The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players bet over a series of rounds, the winner being the player with the best five-card poker hand. There are many different variations of the game, but all poker games share a core set of rules.

Each betting interval (called a “round”) starts when the player to the left of you makes a bet. You can choose to “call” by putting in the same amount of chips as that bet, or you can raise (put in more than the previous player). Then, each person in turn acts according to their own situation and cards.

Once the first round of betting is complete, the dealer deals three cards face up on the table, called the flop. These are community cards that everyone can use. There is another round of betting, and then another community card is dealt – the river. This is the final betting round before the showdown.

It is usually a good idea to play your stronger hands from late positions, as you can control the pot on later betting streets and make a higher percentage of your money. However, it is important to be aware of your position and how your opponents are playing – this is often known as reading tells.

These can be subtle physical cues, such as a hand on the eyebrows, or more emotional ones, like an open-faced smile or a frown. You can also look for a player’s body language to see how they are feeling about their own cards.