Poker is a card game of skill and luck that is played for money either in cash games or tournament play. It’s a great test of, and window onto, human nature as the element of luck can bolster or tank even the best players’ hands. It’s also a lot of fun.

The game begins with all players putting money into the pot (the amount varies by game). Once everyone has acted and there’s enough in the pot to cover all bets, the dealer deals each player 2 cards face down. A round of betting then takes place, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. Three more cards are then dealt on the table, all of them community (shared) cards called the flop. Another round of betting then takes place. The highest 5 card hand wins the pot.

When you have a strong value hand, it’s often a good idea to bet strongly. This forces weaker hands to fold and can help you control the size of the pot.

Always play within your limits. If you are worried about losing your buy-in, it’s usually a good idea to cut back on your stakes. Likewise, it’s usually best to avoid high risk bluffs, especially against good opponents. Lastly, make sure you’re comfortable with the amount of money you are investing in a session before you start. This will prevent you from getting emotionally involved in a hand and making bad decisions.