Poker is a card game that can be played by two or more players. Depending on the rules, one or more players are forced to put up an amount of money before they get their cards (these amounts are known as the ante and the blinds). This creates a pot right away and encourages competition.

The dealer then deals the cards and the betting begins. Each player must place in the pot at least the amount of the bet made by the player before him (this is known as calling). A player may also choose to raise his bet, which means he will put up more than the previous player did.

Throughout the course of a hand, the dealer will deal three additional cards face up on the table. These are called the flop and they will allow everyone still in the hand to make a decision. Generally speaking, the best move is to either fold or raise. Putting in too much money will cost you more than if you simply folded. The goal is to win the pot by making the worst players pay for the privilege of seeing your strong hand.

There are a few key skills that every poker player must have. Discipline and perseverance are mandatory, as is a strong commitment to smart game selection. In order to maximize your winnings, you must play only those games that are appropriate for your bankroll and skill level. You should also learn how to read other players for tells, or non-verbal cues, that can reveal their cards.