Poker is a card game in which players wager against each other by placing chips into the pot. The goal is to win the pot by either having the highest-ranked hand when all the cards are shown or by betting so aggressively that others drop out of the hand. Unlike other casino games, there is no house edge in poker and skilled players can make large profits over time.

Depending on the rules of the game, one or more players are required to place an initial amount of money into the pot before the cards are dealt. These initial forced bets come in the form of antes, blinds, and bring-ins. Once the players have placed their bets, five community cards are dealt face up in stages – three cards known as the flop, and then an additional single card called the turn. Then there is a final round of betting before all the cards are revealed – this is known as the showdown. The player with the highest-ranked hand wins the pot, which contains all the bets made during that deal.

To maximize your chances of winning, it is important to understand how to play your opponents’ hands. Trying to put your opponent on a specific hand is often impossible, so more experienced players will work out the range of possible hands that they could have and then try to narrow this range down by studying their actions and reading body language. This approach is based on probability, psychology, and game theory.