Poker is a card game played by two or more players. It combines the twin elements of chance and skill, and over time the application of skill can virtually eliminate the element of luck. There are many different forms of poker, but most of them have similar rules. The objective is to win the “pot,” which is the sum of all bets made in a given deal. A player can win the pot with a high hand or by making a bet that no other player calls.

Each player must contribute a stake to the pot before the cards are dealt. This contribution is called the ante. When it is your turn, you may either bet the same amount as the last player (called calling), or you may raise the bet (called raising). If a player does not want to raise his bet, he can check instead.

The dealer will then reveal the flop. The value of the hand is determined by the two personal cards in a player’s hands, and the five community cards on the table. It is important to know when to fold a bad hand, especially after the flop.

Observe experienced players and imagine how you would react in their position to develop your instincts. Pay special attention to how a player’s face changes when they are bluffing. Look for a hand over the mouth to conceal a smile, flaring nostrils, blinking excessively, a sweaty palm, or an increased pulse seen in the neck or temple. These are all tells that help other players identify a bluff.