Poker is a card game for two to 14 players, played with chips that represent money. The object is to win the pot, the total of all bets made during one deal. Players can win the pot by making a high-ranking hand, or by betting enough that other players call their bets.

If you want to improve your poker skills, start by reading up on the rules of different games. Then learn how to read tells, unconscious physical signs that reveal the value of a player’s hand. These can include facial or body tics, staring at the cards too long, biting nails, and other nervous habits. Expert players know how to hide their tells—and to use false ones to throw other players off.

You also need to understand the odds of a poker hand. For example, a Royal flush is the highest hand, followed by Four of a Kind, Straight, Flush, and Three of a Kind. Two Pair is a hand of two cards of the same rank plus two unmatched cards, and is usually lower than Three of a Kind.

In most poker games, the first player to the left of the dealer makes a bet called an open bet. Then everyone else can either raise or fold their bets. Players who raise must place chips into the pot that represent the amount they are betting. If they do not, they forfeit their turn at the table. These chips can be traded in for cash (“cashing out”) at the end of the game.