Poker is a card game in which players place bets on the outcome of a hand, competing with other players for high stakes. While luck plays a role, it is also a skill-based game that can be learned and improved with practice.

Each player begins the game with a certain number of chips, which represent money they can bet with during the course of the game. This amount is called the ante. Once each player has an ante, they are dealt two cards. Each player then aims to make the best five-card poker hand, using their own two cards and the five community cards that are shared with all players. The highest poker hand wins the pot, which is all of the bets placed in the round.

During the early 21st century, poker became increasingly popular as a spectator sport thanks to televised tournaments and online poker. A variety of different poker games are played, but most follow a similar structure.

A key aspect of the game is reading the other players. This includes observing their body language, facial expressions, and other non-verbal cues. It is also important to learn about tells, unconscious habits that reveal information to opponents during a poker game. These can be as subtle as a change in posture or as obvious as a facial expression. These tells are often used by experienced players to deceive other players and win the game. New players may be tempted to play it safe by only playing strong hands, but this strategy can be exploited by opponents and lead them into a trap where they lose the most money.