How to Win at Poker

Poker is a card game in which players place bets of chips (representing money) into the pot. The player with the highest-ranked hand wins the pot. There are several different forms of poker, each with its own unique set of rules and objectives.

Regardless of the variant you play, winning at poker requires some amount of raw technical skill in order to maximize your edge over the competition. To develop your poker skills you can read strategy books, study hands in-game and play with winning players. You can also learn from watching experienced players and imagining how you’d react to certain situations at the table.

When playing poker you need to make optimal betting decisions with your hands in every situation. To do this you need to understand how the structure of the game impacts your decisions and how to construct the best poker hands. The first step is to develop a solid base range of starting hands that you can play aggressively. Pocket pairs, suited aces, and broadway hands should be the core of your starting range.

To start a hand, each player must place an equal amount of chips into the pot before the dealer deals cards. The cards are then dealt to the players one at a time, beginning with the player on the player’s left. After the initial deal there are multiple betting intervals, based on the specific poker variant being played.