Poker is a card game that involves betting on the outcome of a hand. There are a lot of different variations on this game, but most of them are played using the same rules. Players receive two private cards that are their starting hands, and then bet on the rest of the five community cards that are dealt face up. The player with the best hand wins.

The games are almost always played with chips, which represent a set amount of money. Each color of chip represents a different dollar value. Players can check, pass on the betting, call or raise. A raise is a larger bet than the previous one, and it forces other players to match or exceed your bet. Most poker games are fast-paced, and there is often a lot of action.

Top players know how to play their hands fast, which can help them build the pot and chase off opponents that are waiting for a better showdown hand. Having a strong hand isn’t enough, however – you also need to know how to play it correctly.

To play your hands correctly, you must understand how to read your opponent’s ranges. While many beginners try to put their opponents on a specific hand, experienced players instead work out the full selection of possible hands that their opponent could have. This allows them to make more profitable decisions in the long run. This requires a good understanding of game theory, probability and psychology.