Poker is a card game that requires strategic thinking, the ability to read opponents, and the skill of making big bluffs. It’s a fast-paced game that can be played with anywhere from two to 14 players. In most forms of the game, the object is to win the pot, which is the total amount of bets made on one deal. The pot can be won by having the highest-ranking hand or by betting aggressively.

The game begins with each player placing an ante into the pot before they receive their cards. Then, each player places their cards face down on the table. Then, there are several rounds of betting in which each player can choose to either call a bet or raise it. Players can also fold their hand, which means they forfeit any money that they have put into the pot.

As a beginner, it’s best to play conservatively and not over-bet. However, don’t be afraid to be aggressive in the right situations. Aggressive betting often scares other players into folding early, or it makes them think you’re bluffing. Keeping track of other players’ betting habits will help you learn to spot their tendencies. For example, a player who rarely calls and then suddenly raises may be holding a strong hand. Learning their tells (eye movements, idiosyncrasies, hand gestures, etc.) is another great way to improve your game.