How to Play Poker

Poker is a card game that involves betting. It can be a fun and social game, but it also requires skill to win. The goal is to make the best five-card hand at the end of the betting round. The player with the highest-ranking hand wins the pot, which is the sum of all bets made in a single round. The game has many variations, but the rules are usually the same.

The first step in playing poker is to decide which limits and games are right for you. A good way to do this is to play in a variety of games and limits to get a feel for them. It’s also important to know the rules of each game and how the cards are dealt.

Once you’ve decided which limits and game types to play, it’s time to start learning the game. A successful poker player needs several skills, including discipline and perseverance. He or she must also be able to focus during the game and avoid getting bored or distracted. A good poker player also has to be able to read the other players at the table. This includes looking at their facial expressions, body language, and tells.

Another essential skill is being in position. This means betting or raising less often than your opponents. It also means folding fewer hands in late position. Finally, it’s important to mix up your play style to confuse opponents about what you have. If they always know what you have, it’s difficult to get paid off on your big hands or bluff.