Poker is a card game in which players place bets on the value of their hands. The highest hand wins the pot. Players may also bluff, betting that they have the best hand when they don’t. Other players must either call the bet or concede.

The highest-ranking hand in poker is the royal flush, which consists of a 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of the same suit in order (clubs, diamonds, hearts or spades). Other high hands include three of a kind, straight and two pair. A pair is made up of two cards of the same rank, and a fifth unmatched card. A straight consists of five consecutive cards of the same suit, skipping around in rank but not in sequence (for example 5-4-3-2-1).

In most games, players must first ante something (the amount varies by game and is usually only a nickel) to get their cards. They then bet into the pot in the middle, and the player with the highest hand at the end of the betting round wins the pot.

Some players use a variety of techniques to improve their odds of winning, including slow playing, using the gap concept and reading tells. A player’s “tells” are often their body language, such as how they hold their cards or how they speak. For example, a player who blinks a lot or chews gum might be trying to hide nervousness. By slowing down and reading the tells, a player can make their opponents afraid to call their bets, increasing their chances of winning.