Poker is a card game where players bet money (called “chips”) into a pot without showing their cards. They aim to make the best 5-card hand from their two personal cards and the five community cards on the table. Players may also draw replacement cards to improve their hands. The best hand wins the pot, or the total of all bets made.

Poker involves deception and bluffing to win. In a bluff, a player makes a bet when they don’t have a good hand in order to induce other players with stronger hands to fold theirs. A related tactic is the semi-bluff, in which a player with a weak hand raises in the hopes of scaring opponents into folding their strong hands.

Even experienced players often make mistakes or find themselves in challenging situations. By studying their gameplay, novices can learn from these mistakes and adapt successful elements into their own strategies.

One of the most important aspects of poker is understanding how to read your opponents. This includes observing their body language and looking for tells, or nervous habits. Common tells include shallow breathing, sighing, rubbing the nose or palm, a fidgeting hand, a squinty eye, a smile that hides the mouth, a hand over the face, or an increased pulse seen in the neck or temple. These clues can help you determine whether an opponent is bluffing or holding a strong hand. They can also help you decide if you should call their bets or raise your own.