Poker is a card game where the players compete to form the best possible hand based on the cards they have and to win a pot (a collection of all the bets placed by the players during a betting round) at the end of the hand. The best way to learn the game is to play low-stakes games first to gain experience and improve your skills before moving up to higher stakes.
A big mistake that novices make is to play their strong opening hands too cautiously. They fail to realize that poker is a situational game and their hand is often good or bad only in relation to what the other player has. For example, if you have a pair of kings and your opponent has a pair of queens, your kings will lose 82% of the time. However, if you raise preflop with these hands, you can force weaker ones to fold on later streets and still make a profitable showdown.
The other important aspect of the game is to understand how to read other players. This doesn’t necessarily mean picking up subtle physical tells but analyzing patterns and knowing what kind of hands your opponents tend to play in different situations. This will help you know what to expect from them when making moves, and if their previous behavior suggests that they are holding a strong hand, this can lead you to make a bold bet that forces them out of the hand.