Poker is a card game where players try to form the best hand using five cards. The highest-ranking hand wins the pot, which is a sum of all bets placed during the hand. Players can win the pot by either having the best hand or by forcing other players to fold with a bet that no one calls.

The game is usually played with two decks of 52-card English cards. It can be played by between two and seven people. If more than 10 players are playing, it is a good idea to split the group into two or more tables.

To begin the game, players each place a small amount of money into the pot before the deal begins. The player to the left of the dealer acts first, with the others acting in turn. Once all bets are placed, the dealer deals three cards face up to the table, known as the flop. Then the dealer reveals the final fifth community card, called the river. After the river action, all remaining players show their cards and the player with the best poker hand is declared the winner.

A key skill in poker is learning how to read your opponents. There are many books on this subject, and everyone from psychologists to law enforcement officials have spoken of the importance of reading facial expressions and body language. Poker players can also gain a better understanding of their opponents by keeping track of their betting patterns and watching how they move their chips around the table.