Poker is a card game in which players make bets into a central pot. Each player must place at least a small bet (the amount varies by game) to get cards, and betting is done in a clockwise direction. When the betting interval ends, the best hand takes the pot.
To start playing poker, you must learn how to read your opponents and understand the rules of the game. A good way to do this is to play with friends who know the game and are willing to teach it to you. You should also study poker strategy books and articles online to improve your skills.
There are several different types of poker games, each with its own rules and betting structure. For example, some games are fixed limit, while others are no-limit or pot-limit. It is important to understand the different formats of the game in order to make bets that have positive expected value.
In addition, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different types of poker hands. For instance, a full house contains 3 matching cards of one rank and 2 matching cards of another rank. A flush consists of 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. A pair consists of two cards of the same rank, while three of a kind is made up of 3 cards of the same rank and 2 unmatched cards. Finally, a straight is a sequence of five cards of the same rank.