Poker is a card game in which players place chips (representing money) into a pot, and then evaluate their hands according to the rules of the specific poker variant being played. The player with the best hand wins the pot.

One of the most important skills to learn is to read other players and their tells. This doesn’t just mean watching for nervous habits like fiddling with a ring or squinting, but also their general playing style and betting behavior. For example, if an opponent who usually calls suddenly makes a huge raise that seems out of character, they may be holding an unbeatable hand.

In addition, it’s important to be able to recognize when your opponents are weak in certain areas of the game. For example, many beginner players are prone to limping, which is generally considered to be a very weak strategy in most games of poker. It’s important to be able to either fold or raise in these situations, so that you’re not giving other players easy opportunities to improve their hands against yours.

Aside from reading books on poker strategy, it’s also a good idea to start keeping a file of hands that you can refer to when making decisions. This will help you to quickly spot patterns and learn the basic theory of the game. Moreover, it will also help you to understand the nuances of different strategies and how they play out in practice.