Poker is a game of luck, but it also requires quite a bit of skill and psychology to play well. The divide between break-even beginner players and big-time winners is often much smaller than people think. It is usually just a few simple adjustments that beginners can make that will enable them to start winning more frequently.
The basic objective of poker is to win pots (money or chips) by taking part in betting rounds. In order to do this, a player needs to form the best possible five-card hand, or “showdown” as it is known in the game. The game is played using a combination of two private cards that each player receives (called the hole cards) and five community cards placed in the centre of the table available to all players.
During each betting round, the players can choose to call, raise or fold. Calling means to match the size of the previous bet, raising means to increase the size of the previous bet and going all-in is when a player puts all his/her chips into the pot.
A key to being a good poker player is looking beyond your own cards and making moves based on what you think the other players might have. This is called reading your opponent’s range. A good poker player will be able to work out how likely it is that an opponent has certain types of hands and will therefore be more or less likely to fold when faced with a particular bet size.