Poker is a game of chance with a lot of skill and psychology involved. While the outcome of a single hand is heavily influenced by luck, over the long run, the best players are able to minimize their losses and maximize their profits through careful decision making.

Poker games are played by a group of players around a table. Each player places an initial amount of money into the pot (the total of all bets) before being dealt cards. The highest hand wins the pot. Depending on the game rules, some players must place an additional amount into the pot before their turn. These extra amounts are called forced bets and can take the form of an ante, blind, or bring-in.

When betting comes around to you, you can either say “call” to match the last person’s bet or raise it by saying “raise.” You can also fold if you don’t want to continue with your hand.

To be a good poker player, you must have the ability to read other players’ hands and understand their thought process. This will allow you to make well-timed bluffs that are more likely to succeed. It will also help you avoid making bluffs that are unlikely to work, which can save you a lot of chips. Another important aspect of poker is bankroll management, which is the process of managing your money to ensure that you have enough to play the game and improve over time.