Poker is a game that involves betting between two or more players. The object of the game is to win the pot, which is the aggregate sum of all bets made in a deal. The pot can be won by having the highest poker hand or by making a bet that no one else calls. There are several different types of poker, but the basic rules are similar across all forms.
The first thing to do is pay attention to the other players at your table. Study their subtle physical poker tells and learn their betting patterns. A player that calls all the time is probably holding crappy cards, while a player that raises every street is usually holding a strong hand.
It’s also important to know what hands beat what. For instance, a full house contains three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another. A straight is 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. And a flush is 5 cards of the same suit that skip around in rank.
A big mistake that many new players make is looking for cookie-cutter advice and following rules like “always 3bet X hands” or “always check-raise your flush draws.” The truth is that each situation is unique, and you need to think for yourself which line is best in each spot. For example, if you have a weak hand and the person to your left is betting, you should usually fold rather than call.