Poker is a card game that can be played by two or more players. It involves betting and bluffing as well as the use of strategy. It is also known as a mind game. There are many ways to play poker, and each game has its own rules and style. In addition to knowing the basic rules of the game, it is important for a player to understand how to read the table and to make use of tells.

In poker, a hand is evaluated by its strength relative to the other players at the table. A strong hand will beat a weak one, but a good player will also weigh the odds of other hands and determine if trying to hit a draw is worth the risk.

While the outcome of any particular hand can involve significant chance, a player’s long-run expectation will be determined by actions chosen on the basis of probability, psychology and game theory. In addition to deciding which cards to keep and which to discard, a player can also decide whether or not to bluff.

A typical poker game begins with one or more forced bets, usually an ante and/or a blind bet. Then the dealer shuffles and cuts the deck, and each player then buys in for a certain number of chips (typically in units of five white or light-colored chips, or one, four or five red). Players place their chips into a central pot before any cards are dealt.