Poker is a game of chance and luck, but it also requires a large amount of raw technical skill. It is important to understand the structure and rules of the game, as well as how to read your opponents and make optimal betting decisions in every situation. In addition, poker requires a high level of emotional control, as it can be very frustrating when you lose.

Players place bets by putting chips into the pot, or “calling.” The dealer then reveals the cards and the best hand wins the pot. The rules of poker vary from one game to another, but generally the dealer must shuffle and cut the deck after each bet. If a player exposes a card before the deal, it is considered a misdeal, and the dealer must retrieve the cards and reshuffle and cut them again.

When you play poker, it is important to develop a strong range of starting hands. Pocket pairs, suited aces, and broadway hands are usually good starting hands to play. Developing a solid base range will give you a foundation to further develop your strategy.

Being last to act gives you an informational advantage over your opponents, especially if they are playing out of position. This is because you can see what they have and can adjust accordingly. You can use this to your advantage by inflating the pot when you have a strong value hand, or exercising pot control when you have a weak or drawing hand.