Poker is a card game with many different variants. It is a game of chance, but there are many strategic elements to the game as well. Players make decisions based on probability, psychology and game theory. They place money into the pot voluntarily (with the exception of initial forced bets) when they believe they have positive expected value or when they want to bluff other players for various strategic reasons.
In a typical poker hand each player is dealt two cards and then the dealer puts three more cards face up on the table that anyone can use. This is called the flop. Then the fourth and final betting round happens where another community card is revealed bringing the total to five cards. After this is the showdown where the player with the best poker hand wins all of the money in the pot.
Generally speaking, the higher the poker hand is, the better. However, ties exist. The highest unmatched card breaks ties except when there are four of a kind, in which case the higher pair breaks ties.
When betting gets around to you, you can either call (match the amount of the current open bet or raise it). You can also fold, which means putting your cards into the middle and giving up your chance of winning. Depending on the rules of your game you may also be allowed to draw replacement cards. This is usually done during or just after the betting round and is called a “re-draw.” An ante is a small bet all players are required to contribute before a hand begins.