Poker is a card game that involves betting and making decisions based on probability, psychology and game theory. Players must also be willing to take risks, as not all hands will be winners. Building comfort with risk-taking can be a gradual process, and lower-stakes games are a great place to start.

There are two mandatory bets called blinds placed into the pot before the cards are dealt. These bets create an incentive for players to play. Players can then choose to voluntarily make further bets for a variety of reasons – either because they believe their hand has a positive expected value or as a means of trying to bluff other players.

To win poker, you must be able to outperform your opponents. This means betting and raising a lot when you have strong value hands and folding very little when your opponent has a weak one.

Don’t limp into pots unless it’s very obvious that your hand is a winner. Regular limping makes your opponents think that you’re not playing and they will overthink and arrive at wrong conclusions.

Keep the pot clear by keeping the best cards together and not stacking or piling them. This will make it easier to reconstruct the hand later on. Also, be sure to kill any losing hands by pulling them into the muck and not leaving them face-up on the table. It’s easy to miss a winning hand if it is face-down on the table.