Poker is a card game where players place bets at the beginning of each hand to create a pot. The highest-ranking hand wins the pot at the end of each betting round. Players can also win pots by bluffing, which involves pretending that their hand is stronger than it actually is in order to get opponents to fold before a showdown.

Having a solid base range of hands to play aggressively is the first step toward becoming a winning poker player. Pocket pairs, suited aces, broadway hands, and the best suited connectors make up about 25% of all starting hands in poker. Developing and sticking to this basic range will allow you to play most situations more profitably.

A big part of winning poker is understanding your opponent’s tendencies. Try to play against people with similar playing styles as yourself. This way, you’ll be able to spot when they are bluffing and adjust your betting accordingly.

Another great way to improve your poker skills is to read strategy books written by winning players. If possible, find books published within the last few years, as strategies are constantly changing.

Finally, it’s important to be able to adapt your poker style to the game you’re playing. Not every table will be ideal, and sometimes you’ll have to deal with a slow table full of amateurs or a fast game that requires lots of aggression. You can still learn from these games, but it’s more difficult to maximize your potential in a bad environment.