Poker is a card game where you compete to form the best possible hand. The winning hand claims the pot – all bets placed during that hand.

While poker has an element of luck, it is primarily a game of skill, with players choosing to bet or fold based on probability, psychology and other game theory considerations. Money is only voluntarily put into the pot if a player believes that their bet has positive expected value. This is why it’s important to learn the game and play regularly – practice makes perfect!

A poker hand consists of 5 cards of the same rank. The highest-ranking hand is a royal flush (Ace, King, Queen, Jack of spades or hearts). A straight flush can also be made up of five consecutive cards of the same suit. The third-highest poker hand is a four of a kind.

After all players have been dealt two cards they have a chance to call, raise or fold their hands. Typically, betting starts at the first player to the left of the dealer.

It is vital to know when to play and when to fold, especially when you have a strong hand. A common mistake is to keep betting, hoping that the flop or river will give you your three-of-a-kind or flush. This is called playing on tilt. It is a terrible way to lose money and can ruin your bankroll. It is important to set a budget, a.k.a your bankroll, and stick to it.