Poker is a card game played between two or more players. It is a game of chance, but with careful play there is also a good amount of skill involved. A player must use their knowledge of probability, psychology, and game theory to win. Several types of poker games are played, but most involve a minimum of two cards dealt to each player, face down. The first betting round begins after the dealer shuffles and cuts the deck, and then deals each player one or more cards, depending on the game.

During the betting rounds players must bet either their actual money or chips. They must bet enough to make the other players call (match) their bet or fold. The player who has the best five-card hand wins the pot, or the sum of all bets placed in a single deal.

A good poker strategy involves learning to read other players. Often this is not done with subtle physical poker tells such as scratching the nose or playing nervously with your chips, but by reading their patterns. For example, a player who folds early in a hand is likely to be a conservative player who doesn’t like to lose much money and can therefore be easily bluffed by more aggressive players.

It is important to keep your poker stack concealed, but if a player asks how many chips you have, it is appropriate to answer honestly. It is also important to note that it is usually against the rules to discuss your hand while in the middle of a poker round.