Poker is a card game where players wager money (called chips) to win. The cards are dealt face down and betting occurs in intervals, determined by the rules of the game. The player who bets first places a chip into the pot, called an ante, and each subsequent player must place chips in the pot equal to or greater than the value of the previous bet.

The highest hand wins the pot. The most common hands are a straight, three of a kind, and two pair. If more than one player has a high hand, the higher rank of the hand prevails (five aces beats five kings, and so on).

A good strategy is to play as aggressively as possible in early position when you have strong cards. This will cause your opponents to think that you have a stronger hand than you do, so they may be more likely to fold. On the other hand, if you have weak cards and are facing weak action, you should be more cautious and check your opponent’s bets.

To improve your poker skills, read books on the subject and watch other players to see how they react in certain situations. It’s also a great idea to get together with a group of winning players to talk about difficult decisions they have made. This will help you develop better instincts and will teach you how to read your fellow players’ tells – the small things that can give away someone’s strategy.