Poker is a card game that involves betting between players and a showdown at the end of each round. While a large portion of the outcome of any hand is due to chance, good players can often improve their odds of winning by reading other players. This usually involves noticing subtle physical poker tells (such as scratching the nose or playing nervously with their chips) and looking for patterns in a player’s betting behavior.

The dealer starts the game by distributing a set of cards to each player. Each player can then choose to call, raise or fold. Once all players have called a specific amount of money into the pot, the betting cycle is complete and a showdown occurs.

A player can also “check” the pot, which means they do not want to bet at all. If the player to their left raises the bet, however, the player has to call the new amount or fold.

Poker games are played with chips that have specific values, which the dealer assigns before the game starts. These chips are then exchanged for cash by the players.

Poker is a game of quick instincts. Developing a quick and accurate read on your opponents requires practice. The best way to do this is to play the game and watch experienced players to see how they react. This will help you develop your own poker instincts and make better decisions in the future.