Poker is a card game for two or more players, played with a standard deck of 52 cards. It is a betting game, in which the object is to win the pot, or the sum of bets placed in a single deal. Players bet into the pot in turn, clockwise around the table. The player who has the best poker hand at the end of a round wins the pot.
A poker game may be played with any number of players, but the ideal number is six to eight. The players ante something (the amount varies by game, but typically no more than a nickel) to be dealt cards and begin betting on them.
The dealer deals each player 2 cards face down (hidden from the other players). A betting phase ensues. Then 3 community cards are dealt face up on the center of the table (revealed to all). This is called the flop. Then another betting phase ensues. The player with the highest five-card poker hand wins the pot.
The skills required to be a good poker player are discipline, perseverance and sharp focus. A strong commitment to smart game selection (finding games with the appropriate limits and game variations for your bankroll) is also important. In addition, good poker players must learn to read their opponents. This involves tracking the way they handle their cards and chips, and looking for tells such as body language and facial expressions.