A card game with many variants, Poker is a game of skill, strategy and luck. It is most often played between two players, but it can be played in groups. In addition to being a fun game, poker is also a competitive one, and a good player can win large sums of money. It is a game of chance, but there are also ways to improve your chances of winning, such as learning how to read the other players at the table, and understanding the rules of the game.

When you play poker, you start with two cards, known as your hole cards, and then you use those along with five community cards to make a hand. Depending on the rules of the game, you may have to place an initial amount into the pot before the cards are dealt, which is called an ante or blind.

Once the cards are dealt, each player acts in turn by placing bets. You can either call the bet made by the previous player, raise it or fold your hand. If you choose to fold, you forfeit any bets that you have placed up to this point.

In a poker hand, the highest ranking cards determine which player wins. For example, a high pair beats any other hand. A straight is a series of five consecutive cards of the same rank, while a flush contains any five consecutive cards from different ranks but of the same suit.