Poker is a card game, usually played by two to seven players. It uses a standard deck of 52 cards, with some games adding jokers to the mix as wild cards. It is a gambling game where the highest hand wins.
To play a hand in poker, each player must place an ante (the amount varies by game), and the cards are dealt face down. When betting comes around to your turn, you can choose to ‘call’ a bet from the person before you or raise it. If you call, you must place the same amount in the pot as the previous player.
You can also ‘check’ if you do not want to bet, in which case you pass on your turn to act and wait until it comes around again. This is important, especially for beginners to help prevent making costly mistakes like calling a bet with an unbeatable hand.
Learning to read your opponents is an essential skill to becoming a good poker player. This includes understanding their tells, which are not just body language but include things like how often they make certain calls or folds. Watch for patterns, and try to identify conservative players from aggressive ones. Aggressive players tend to bet high early on, and are prone to folding when they have bad hands.
Experienced players learn to read hands by studying their opponent’s ranges, which are the range of possible cards that their opponent could be holding. This is a much more sophisticated method of playing, and takes into account the number of other players in the hand, board runouts, etc.