Poker is a card game in which players place chips (representing money) into a central pot during betting rounds. The highest five-card hand wins the pot. The cards are dealt from a standard deck of 52 cards. A dealer, designated by a special chip, is responsible for shuffling the cards and dealing them to each player. A player may play poker without becoming a dealer, but if they do, they must pass the dealer chip to a new player after each round of betting.

Players must develop several skills to become good at poker. Discipline and perseverance are essential, as is a commitment to smart game selection (choosing the best limits and games for their bankroll). Players also need to learn to read opponents by watching the way they handle their chips and cards. They should also try to figure out what tells mean something and which ones are unreliable.

Some people claim to have a gift for reading others, and there are certainly many books that discuss this subject. However, poker reading is a bit more specific than this. It involves observing the way players move their hands, how they buy in and the way they talk to other players at the table. It is also important to note their moods, eye movements and how long it takes them to make a decision. All of these are useful in determining what kind of player a person is. They may be a loose-ass player, a tight-ass player or somewhere in between.