Poker is a card game in which players place bets (representing money) into a pot after each round of betting. The player with the highest hand at the end of a hand wins the pot. The game can be played in private homes, in clubs, in casinos and on the Internet. It is sometimes called the national card game of the United States and its play and jargon permeate American culture.

A good poker player is able to read other players. They watch their tells (unconscious habits of a player that reveal information about their hand). A common tell is eye contact or body language. Another is a change in the amount of a player’s bet. A poker player who calls a small bet for a long time may be bluffing and about to make a big raise.

When the turn to bet comes around to you, you can say “call” if you want to bet the same amount as the person before you. You will then place chips or cash in the pot. You can also say “raise” if you want to increase the bet that was made before yours.

If you don’t want to bet, you can say “check” and wait for the next player’s turn. However, if you have a premium opening hand like a pair of Aces, Queens or Kings, you should bet aggressively. This will encourage other players to raise their own bets, which can create a high-stakes showdown.