Poker is a card game that involves betting. The game usually takes place between two players and a dealer, but can be played with up to 8 players at one table. The goal is to win the pot by forming the highest hand possible. The game is based on probability, psychology, and game theory. However, the outcome of any given hand largely depends on chance.

When a hand is dealt, the players must decide whether to call, raise, or fold. Each player must also decide how much money to put into the pot (the amount varies by game). Players may not discuss their hands at the table, but they can talk about strategy. This helps other players understand the different approaches to the game and improve their own decisions.

In most games, each player must ante something (the amount varies by game). After this, players bet into the pot in turn. A player must place chips or cash in the pot if they believe that their bet has positive expected value or if they are trying to bluff other players for strategic reasons.

When playing poker, it is important to learn how to read other players and their tells. These tells can include nervous habits such as fiddling with their chips or a ring, but they also include the way a player plays. For example, a player who frequently calls high bets early in the hand is probably more likely to have a strong holding than someone who always raises when they have nothing.