Poker is a card game in which players place bets on the outcome of a hand. There are many different forms of poker, some simpler than others, but the basic principles are the same. Players compete to make the best five-card hand from the two cards they hold in their hands and the five community cards on the table. The winner is the player who accumulates the most chips over the course of several betting rounds. The total amount bet in any round is called the pot. There may be a main pot and also side pots, depending on the rules of the game.

In most poker games, players must pay forced bets, either the small blind or big blind, before they are dealt their cards. These are known as the blinds or antes. After the players have placed their bets, they are then dealt cards, which they keep hidden from their opponents. The cards are usually dealt face down, but some games use them face up instead.

Depending on the rules of your game, you can draw replacement cards for some of the ones in your hand. For example, a full house is three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another rank, while a straight is five consecutive cards of the same suit.

Talking with a stronger poker player about specific parts of the game can be very helpful, but it’s important to know what you’re looking for. It’s hard to learn something from someone who can’t explain what they’re thinking and how they get to their decisions.