Poker is a card game that involves betting between players. Each player contributes to the pot, called the pot size, according to the rules of the game and their bankroll. Each player can either fold if they don’t have a good hand or call if they think their opponent has a bad one. The game is based on probability and game theory. It also requires self-control, sharp focus and the ability to read other players’ tells.

There are many variations of the game, each with a different betting structure and strategy. The best way to learn the game is by playing at low limits first. This will help you practice and develop your skills without donating money to players who are much better than you. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can start playing for higher stakes.

Unlike other games of chance, in poker there are no forced bets. Instead, players place bets voluntarily when they believe that a bet will have positive expected value or to bluff other players for various strategic reasons.

In addition to learning the game’s rules, it is important to mix up your style at the table and make your opponents guess what you have in your hand. Continuation-betting a flopped top pair 50% of the time and calling the other 50% is a great way to improve your winning percentage. This way you’ll be less predictable and your opponents will be unable to pick up on your signals.