Poker is a card game played between two or more players and in which bluffing is a common practice. The game is primarily a skill-based activity, with the element of chance playing a much smaller role in the typical hand than is commonly believed. The divide between break-even beginner players and big-time winners is often much narrower than many people think, and it usually involves a few key adjustments in attitude and approach that can be learned over time.

A basic strategy is to bluff when it makes sense and be aggressive with strong hands, in order to force weaker players out of the pot. However, it is also important to avoid being overly aggressive – this can be costly. The best way to avoid this is to learn to read the other players at the table. This requires paying close attention to subtle physical tells and analyzing how they play the game.

Before the deal, the player to the right of the dealer places a forced bet (often called an ante or blind) into the pot. After the antes and blind have been placed, the cards are shuffled and then dealt one at a time to the players, starting with the player to their left. Players then bet in turns, placing chips into the pot when they believe they have a good hand or want to force other players out of the pot with a bluff. These bets may or may not be raised or re-raised.