Poker is a card game in which players wager money, usually chips. A white chip is worth one unit, or the minimum ante or blind bet; a red chip is worth five whites. At the beginning of a game, each player puts a certain number of these chips into the central pot. The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals each player two cards, face up or down, depending on the rules of the game being played.
The first betting round begins when the player to the left makes a bet, which other players can call or raise. If the player raises, they must put into the pot at least as many chips as the previous player. If they fold, they drop out of the hand and lose any chips they have already put into it.
On the flop, each player gets to look at three community cards. These cards can improve a player’s existing hand, or they may not. For example, a pair of kings is a great hand but can be killed by a third jack on the flop. The best hand wins the pot.
Beginners should try to learn as much about their opponents as possible while they play. This is called “reading.” You can do this by paying attention to their tells, such as fiddling with their chips or a ring or by the way they move their body. It also helps to be able to read the betting patterns of your opponents.