Poker is a card game that has many different forms but it always involves betting. The object is to win the pot (the total of all bets made during a hand) by having the highest ranking poker hand when everyone shows their cards. This is not a game of pure chance though, there is quite a bit of skill involved as well.

To start a hand, players must first place an ante, the amount varies by game. Cards are then shuffled and dealt to each player in turn, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. Once everyone has their cards, the first of several betting rounds begins.

After each round of betting, players may discard and draw cards to improve their hands. If more than one player has a high hand when all showdowns occur, the winnings are split according to the rules of that particular game.

It is important to understand how to read your opponents in poker. Some of this is done by watching their faces and how they move their chips around, but much of it is done by studying their body language. It is also important to know the tells that players give off when they are bluffing. Knowing this can help you make better decisions in the poker game and avoid making bad calls.