When you play poker, the goal is to make correct decisions over time, and then to win more money than your opponents do. This requires skill, and also understanding how your opponent plays their cards. It also means playing within your bankroll and not playing games with players who are too strong for you, as this will cost you money on a regular basis.

The basics of poker include the ante, which is the small amount of money that each player puts up before the deal begins; the call, which is putting in the same amount as someone else who has already raised; and the fold, which is throwing your hand away. There are many different types of poker hands, but the most common are the pair, three of a kind, straight, and flush.

Observing other players and paying attention to their tells is one of the best ways to learn how to play poker. A tell can be anything from fiddling with chips to a ring, and it is important for beginners to be able to read other players to develop their game.

If you are a good poker player, you should bet aggressively when you have a premium starting hand like a pair of Kings or Queens. This will make other players think twice about calling your bets, and it will help you build the pot for your big hands. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to check when you have a weaker hand.