Poker is a card game played by two or more players. Usually each player places an initial bet (representing chips or cash) before being dealt cards. Then players place bets into the pot in turn, with the highest hand winning the pot at the end of the betting round.

To play poker, you need a standard 52-card deck of playing cards plus one or more jokers, depending on the variant you are using. The cards are ranked in order of highest to lowest: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2. There are four suits: spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. Some games have wild cards, which take the rank of any other suit.

You must say “call” if you wish to bet the same amount as the person before you. If the player to your left raises, you must say “raise” if you want to increase the size of your bet. If you do not wish to call or raise, you must say “fold” and forfeit the hand.

Many players spend too much time looking for subtle physical poker tells and greatly over-estimate their importance. However, it is far more important to focus on the conscious things that players do at the table. For example, if a player protects his hole cards more than normal, this is generally a sign that he is holding a strong hand. Similarly, if a player looks relaxed but suddenly glances intensely at other players, this is often a sign of an imminent showdown.