Poker is a card game that can be played with two or more people and involves betting on a hand. It requires skill and strategy, and there are many different forms of the game. The goal is to have the highest-ranking poker hand at the end of a betting round.

The game starts when each player places an ante and/or blind bet. The dealer then shuffles the deck and deals cards to the players one at a time, beginning with the player to his or her left. The cards may be dealt face up or down, depending on the variant of the game being played. Once everyone has their cards, the first round of betting begins.

During each betting round, players may call, raise, or fold their hands. If they raise, they must place the amount of their bet in the pot equal to the last player’s bet or raise. If they choose to fold, they forfeit any chance of winning that particular round.

After the last player has acted, the players reveal their hands and the player with the best hand wins that round. Players may also win a round by making the highest-ranking hand or by bluffing.

To be successful in poker, it’s important to learn how the game works and how to read the other players. One way to do this is to keep a file of poker hands, either ones that you’ve played or ones from another source. This will help you identify conservative players (players who tend to fold early) and aggressive players (risk-takers who often bet high).