Poker is a card game in which players independently try to assemble a hand of cards with the highest value. It has many variants, but in most forms the object is to win a pot—a sum of bets made by each player that is collected into one group (called the pot) and won by a person with the best hand. The pot is typically paid in cash or chips, but some games use other units of value.

A dealer deals a pack of cards to each player, starting with the player to his or her left. Each player has the option to draw replacement cards into their hand if desired, though this isn’t typical in professional games. There is often a round of betting after each card is dealt, with two mandatory bets called blinds put into the pot by the players to the left of the dealer. A single additional card is then revealed, which begins another round of betting. If you want to bet more than your opponent, say “call” or “I call” to place the amount of your bet into the pot. If you don’t want to bet, say “fold” or “pass” and forfeit your hand.

Poker has gained immense popularity as a spectator sport, with huge audiences watching major tournaments like the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour. Despite its appearance as a pure luck-based game, there is still some skill involved in poker, especially when it comes to reading other players’ tells. These are unconscious habits, such as eye contact or body language, that reveal information about a player’s hand.