Poker is a card game in which players bet on the outcome of a hand. The game is primarily decided by chance, but the long-run expectations of players are determined by their decisions chosen on the basis of probability, psychology and game theory.

Unlike other card games, in poker a player’s cards are only revealed at the showdown. This means that players can bet on any kind of hand, including weak ones such as a high pair or two unrelated cards. A good poker player is therefore able to read the other players and know when to fold or call.

Each player is dealt 2 hole cards, and after the first betting round begins (initiated by 2 mandatory bets called blinds put into the pot by the players to the left of the dealer). After the flop another card is dealt face up, and there’s a second betting round. Finally, the river is revealed and the final betting round takes place.

During the showdown, the best 5-card hand wins the pot. The other players can then discard their cards and draw new ones if they wish. Depending on the rules of your particular game, you can also exchange cards during or immediately after the betting round. This allows you to change the value of your hand and improve your chances of winning. However, this is not recommended for beginners because it can increase the amount of money you have to risk and it’s a bit too complicated for them to learn on their own.