Poker is a card game that can be played with any number of players. The object of the game is to win the pot, which is the total amount of bets placed during a deal. The pot may be won by having the best hand, or by betting aggressively. The most popular form of poker is Texas hold’em, which is played with a standard deck of 52 cards.

Having the best hands is important, but so is winning money over the long term. To do that, you need to be able to make the right decisions at the right times. That’s why it’s so important to learn the fundamentals of the game, and then apply them in the right situations.

A good starting point is learning how to read your opponents’ behavior and watch for tells. These aren’t just the obvious signals, like fiddling with chips or wearing a ring, but also things like how they raise, how much they call, and what their preflop tendencies are. Beginners often miss these cues, which can cost them a lot of money.

Another key skill is knowing when to bluff. This requires a lot of thought, and it’s vital to balance your opponent’s range, their expectations of you, the board, and many other factors. Many new players overthink this, and end up not bluffing at all because they are afraid of getting caught. This is a huge mistake, and it’s one of the reasons that weaker players are sometimes able to beat stronger ones.