Poker is a card game that involves betting between two or more players and has a number of different variants. In all forms, the object of the game is to win the pot (the sum total of bets made during any one deal). A poker hand consists of five cards, which may be hidden from the other players or revealed. Players can make bets by calling, raising or folding; a player can also bluff by betting that they have a high-ranking hand and then losing if another player calls their bet.
In most cases, one player, designated by the rules of the particular variant being played, has the privilege or obligation to make the first bet in each betting interval. Each player must place chips (representing money, for which poker is almost invariably played) into the pot in order to continue participating in the current betting round. The pot is accumulated in this way until the final betting round, at which time the players reveal their hands and the player with the highest-ranking hand wins the pot.
It is not uncommon for the best players to win multiple pots in a row. To achieve this level of skill, it is important for a player to study and understand the game and its various variants. The most effective way to do this is to read several guides written by experts in the field, as well as to play frequently with a group of strong poker friends who can offer insightful advice and support.