A Beginner’s Guide to Poker

Poker is a card game of strategy, chance and bluffing. It is played in a betting interval called a “hand.” A player must ante some amount (the amount varies by game) and then place chips into the pot, which is won by the highest hand. Players can raise, call or fold their hands.

To be successful in poker, you must learn to extract maximum value from your winning hands and minimise losses on your losing hands. This is called “MinMax”. It requires a lot of studying and discipline.

You also need to be able to read other players and look for their tells. These are not only physical cues such as fiddling with chips or wearing a watch but can also be the way someone plays, for example calling and then raising when they have an unbeatable hand. Beginners should try to develop good instincts by playing often and watching experienced players.

Another skill that is vital in poker is patience. As a beginner, you will probably lose quite a bit at the beginning. To mitigate this, it is important to start out at low stakes and play conservatively so that you can focus on observing other players. This will help you to build your instincts, and will keep you from dumping too much money too early in the game. As you gain experience, you can slowly open your hand range and mix your play up. However, this should always be done with caution and only when you are sure that your hand is strong enough.