Poker is a card game that can be played by two or more players. It can be played with one or more decks of cards, and it can include jokers (wildcards) if desired. Typically, a 52-card English deck is used. The decks are shuffled together and dealt out face-up to each player. Each player then has the option to play their hand or fold.

When a player has a premium opening hand, such as a pair of Aces or Queens, it is important to bet aggressively from the start. This will allow you to assert dominance at the table and will lead to a bigger pot for you to win.

There are several betting intervals in a poker game, depending on the specific rules of the variant being played. These bets are placed into the pot, which is a collection of chips representing money. A player must place enough chips into the pot during his turn to match the total contribution made by the player before him.

Some poker games require a forced bet, known as an ante or blind bet, to be placed into the pot before the cards are dealt. This bet must be made by all players who wish to participate in the round, and may be raised by a player who believes that his bet has positive expected value or who is trying to bluff other players for various strategic reasons. After the betting phase, the cards are revealed and the winner is the player with the best 5-card hand.