Poker is a card game in which players place bets into the middle of the table (the pot). The highest hand wins the pot. Poker involves a large element of chance, but it can also involve a great deal of skill and psychology.
To begin a hand, players must ante a minimum amount of money (this varies by game). Once everyone has called the ante, they are dealt two cards face down. The player to the left of the dealer begins betting. Once betting is complete the dealer puts three additional cards on the table that everyone can use. These are called the flop. Betting continues until all remaining players call or fold.
As the flop is revealed, think about possible hands that other players may have. For example, if the flop is 7-6-2, anyone holding a pair of sevens will have the nuts (the best possible hand at this point). Similarly, if the turn card is an ace, it spells doom for pocket kings or queens.
Watch experienced players to learn how to read their body language. Classic tells include shallow breathing, sighing, flaring nostrils, eye blinking, swallowing excessively, blushing, and an increased pulse seen in the neck or temple. These signs indicate a strong or weak hand. Remember to keep records of your wins and losses to avoid legal trouble, and play only with money that you can afford to lose. If you are serious about becoming a good poker player, consider hiring a coach to teach you the game and improve your instincts.