The game of poker, as played in the United States and other parts of the world, involves betting and a showdown between five cards dealt to each player. The goal is to win the pot, or the sum of all bets made in one round. The rules vary slightly from game to game but the basic principles are the same. The game may be played with a maximum of seven players, although some games are played with more than 10. A complete hand is dealt and the players bet in a single betting round, with raising and re-raising allowed. The players with the best poker hand win the pot.
Observing and learning how to read the other players at your table is key to becoming a winning poker player. Often this is done through subtle physical poker tells such as scratching your nose or playing nervously with your chips, but can also be a result of patterns they are displaying. For example if a player has consistently been checking after seeing the flop it is likely they have a weaker than average hand.
Never get too attached to good pocket hands such as pocket kings or queens. Even if you have two pair it is very likely that an ace on the flop will spell doom to your hand or cause you to be forced to call a bet that you would rather have stayed in. It is also courteous to sit out a few hands if you need to go to the bathroom, refresh your drink or take a phone call.