Poker is a card game in which players compete to make the best hand based on rank and suit. The goal is to win the pot, which is the sum of all bets placed in a single betting interval. The highest-ranking hand wins the pot, but it is also possible to win the pot by making a bet that no one else calls and driving other players out of the hand.
Depending on the rules of a specific poker variant, players may have to place an initial amount of chips into the pot before cards are dealt. This is known as an ante, blind or bring-in.
Once the cards are dealt, each player can choose to call a bet (put in the same number of chips as the player who raised it) or raise it themselves. A player who doesn’t raise can then “drop” (fold) his cards and forfeit his stake in the pot.
The best poker players possess a few key traits, including patience, reading other players, and adaptability. They know how to calculate pot odds and percentages quickly, they know when to play a hand and when to fold, and they understand how to adjust their strategy to the other players at the table. They are able to play tight in EP and MP positions, but can open their range up when they’re on the button or in late position. They are also able to identify weaknesses in their opponents’ games and exploit them.