The game of poker is a card game in which players bet money into a pot – the sum of all bets made during one hand. The player with the best five-card poker hand wins the pot. There are many different types of poker games. Some require the players to place an initial amount of money into the pot before dealing their cards, called antes or blinds. These mandatory bets help to create a pot right from the start and encourage competition.

After all the players have received their 2 cards, a round of betting starts with the player to the left of the dealer. Each player can choose to call the current bet, raise it, or fold. If a player folds, they forfeit any money that they have already bet in that hand.

In poker, the highest-ranking hand is a royal flush – a 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of the same suit in one kind (for example, all clubs). Four of a kind is the second highest-ranking poker hand and is formed by 4 consecutive cards of the same rank.

To learn how to play poker, begin by playing low-stakes cash games or micro-tournaments. This will allow you to gain experience and familiarize yourself with the mechanics of the game, learn how to use poker chips, and develop a personal style and instincts. It is also helpful to study and observe experienced poker players to learn effective strategies and avoid common pitfalls.