Poker is a card game that can be played with any number of players. The game requires each player to put up an amount of money, called the ante (the amount varies by game). Once everyone has an equal amount of money in the pot they are dealt cards. The highest hand wins the pot. The betting is done in clockwise order and each player can choose to call, raise, or fold. You can also bluff, but this is not recommended for new players.
The game starts with each player putting in the ante (this amount varies by game). Once this has been done the dealer deals everyone two cards face down. If the dealer has a pair of jacks or higher then they pass their cards to the next player and the betting begins.
Once betting has begun a third card is dealt on the table (this is called the flop). The three community cards are now available to all players. The flop is when the strength of your hand can be determined.
A four of a kind is when you have 4 cards of the same rank (for example 2 3s). This is a very strong hand and will usually win the pot.
Another strong hand is a straight. A straight is a five card sequence in ascending order (ascending means going from low to high). The straight must contain a King or Queen to be considered a strong hand.
You can also make a flush when you have 5 matching cards (for example, 3 of hearts and 4 of diamonds). The most common type of hand is a full house which consists of three of a kind plus a pair.
When you have a good hand it is important to bet hard to get other players out of the hand. Nothing is worse than a player holding a pair of kings but not being aggressive enough on the flop, turn, and river.
Another key aspect of poker is learning how to read other players. This is not as easy as it sounds but it can be very helpful in improving your win rate. Many people think of reading other players as being about subtle physical tells, like fiddling with their chips, but it is much more than that. Pay attention to how often other players raise or call and try to figure out what they are likely to be holding. This is known as working out their range and it is one of the most important aspects of the game.