Poker is a card game in which the objective is to form a high-ranking hand and claim the pot at the end of each betting round. Each player is dealt a total of 7 cards and must use only 5 of them to make their hand. The highest-ranking hands are a royal flush, straight, three of a kind, and pair. The remaining cards are community cards that are shared by all players.

At the start of a poker game, one or more players must place forced bets (an ante and/or blind bet). The dealer then shuffles the deck, cuts the cards, and deals each player 1 card at a time, beginning with the player to their left. The first of several betting rounds then begins.

Once all players either match the bet or fold, the dealer “burns” the top card of the deck and removes it from play. Then the next betting round, called the flop, begins.

After the flop, players must decide whether to call any bets and how much to bet. They can also say “raise” to increase the amount they bet.

The best strategy is to save your money and not chase bad hands. This way, you can save your chips for a stronger hand and avoid losing more than you have invested in the game. It is important to read your opponents, as well as their tells, so that you can pick up on any changes in mood or mannerisms.