Poker is a card game that involves betting and bluffing. Winning at poker is based on your cards being better than those of your opponents or scaring them enough to surrender (by bluffing). It’s easy to get swept up in the emotions of tournament play, but don’t let them control you. Aggression wins tournaments but it’s important to balance it with solid fundamentals and the right amount of caution.

Before any cards are dealt players must place an initial contribution into the pot. This is called a forced bet and is usually in the form of an ante or blinds. This bet helps ensure that players are not “blind-raising” and losing chips to bad hands.

Once the antes/blinds are placed cards are dealt one at a time. Each player has two personal cards in their hand and five community cards on the table. The highest five-card hand wins the pot.

After the flop is revealed a second round of betting takes place. This is a good time to study your opponent’s range and make sure you’re maximizing your opportunities for winning the pot on later streets. You should also know how to assess your own hand’s value and when it is better to be made but behind versus drawing thin or dead against your opponent’s calling range. Implied odds are an important factor to consider as well.