Poker is a card game that takes skill to win. It is played with a set of cards and chips, and players take turns betting on their hand. The player with the highest ranked hand wins the pot/all bets.

If you’re playing against a table of clueless drunks or newbies, it can be maddening to watch your chips vanish while the mopes to your left and right make low-percentage decisions that keep getting rewarded. This is known as the one-sided coin problem, and it’s a big reason why so many people lose at poker.

To improve your odds of winning, focus on the game rather than trying to outwit your opponents. That way, you’ll learn more about how they play and be able to adjust accordingly.

You can also get more value out of your strong hands by being the last to act. This allows you to inflate the pot when you have a good hand and lower it when you have a mediocre or drawing hand.

Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that poker is a game of chance, and even the most skilled players will occasionally suffer big losses. The best way to mitigate this risk is to only play against players you have a significant skill edge over. This will give you the best chance of beating them in the long run. This is called risk management, and it’s a skill I learned as a young options trader and have applied to my poker game.