Poker is a card game that involves betting between players and the placement of chips (representing money) into a central pot. The players compete to make the best hand and win the pot. Some poker variants include forced bets, which must be placed before the cards are dealt. After the cards are dealt, a series of betting intervals may take place. If a player declines to call a bet, he forfeits his right to compete for the pot and is said to fold.

A poker hand consists of five cards, with the highest card winning. The cards are ranked according to their suit and sequence. A straight is any five consecutive cards of the same suit. A flush is any five cards of the same rank and two or more suits. A three of a kind is three cards of the same rank, and a pair is two matching cards of any rank.

During the hand, a player may check, call or raise. If a player matches the last bet, they are said to call it. If they bet more than the previous bettor, they are said to raise it. Alternatively, they can fold to exit the hand.

Poker is a psychological game with some strategic elements. The success of a hand partly depends on chance, but the long-run expectations of the players are determined by their decisions chosen on the basis of probability and psychology. A player’s tells, or physical expressions during the hand, reveal their intentions. These tells may indicate a strong hand, a weak one, or that they are bluffing. Some tells include shallow breathing, sighing, flaring nostrils, blinking excessively, an increased pulse seen in the neck or temple, and shaking hands.