Poker is a card game played between two or more players and the object of the game is to win the pot. The pot is the total of all bets placed during one deal. The player who makes the highest hand wins the pot. Bets are made by raising or calling and can only be made if a player has a hand that is deemed to have positive expected value.
To begin a game of poker, each player must ante up an amount (varies by game) to get dealt cards. Then, each player in turn must place chips into the center of the table (representing money) for betting purposes. These chips must be at least equal to the amount bet by the player before them, or they can choose to fold their hand.
The cards are dealt in a combination of face-down and face-up rounds, called streets, with a round of betting after each street. The most popular stud family is seven-card stud. In this variant, each player is dealt two extra cards in addition to the five they are initially given.
Poker is a fast-paced game with many betting actions. It is important to understand how to read the tells of other players, which can be seen by their facial expressions, body language, and gestures. These tells include shallow breathing, sighing, flaring nostrils, blinking excessively and/or shaking hands. These signs can indicate that a player has a strong hand or is bluffing.