The game of poker is played with a standard 52 card English deck with one or two jokers (wild cards). Two to seven players may play. During the course of the hand, players make bets and may discard cards to improve their hand. The highest five-card hand wins the pot. A player may also bluff by betting that they have the best hand, causing other players to call (match) their bet or concede.
After the ante bet is placed, the dealer shuffles and cuts the deck. Then the player on his right makes an initial bet and receives his cards. The dealer deals the remaining cards, face up or down depending on the variant of poker being played. The players then make the first of several betting rounds.
While it is possible to improve your game by playing against better players, a good network of poker friends will be more helpful. The key is to find a group of people that are willing to discuss the game and communicate their thought processes. It is hard to learn from a group of people that just tell you what to do at the table – they aren’t giving you insight into their thought process to allow you to emulate their style.