Poker is a card game in which players place bets against one another. The goal is to win the pot, which is the sum of all bets made during a hand. Each player has a set number of cards that are revealed to them at some point during the betting phase. Players who reveal a strong hand win the pot. Unlike most card games, poker requires a high level of raw technical skill to master. The ability to focus and remain calm in stressful situations is critical for success. It is also important to be able to read your opponents and recognize tells by paying attention to subtle physical cues.

There are many different poker variants. The most common is Texas hold ’em. In this game, players are dealt a total of seven cards. They then choose to fold or call each bet in turn, with the highest-ranked hand winning the pot. The lowest-ranked hand is a pair of aces, but other pairs are also possible.

Being in position, meaning that you act after your opponents have acted, is an integral part of a basic winning poker strategy. This allows you to see their bets before making your own and adjust your play accordingly. It is also an effective way to exercise pot control, meaning that you can inflate the size of the pot if you have a strong hand and make it difficult for other players to call your bets if they have mediocre or weak hands.