Poker is a game of skill, where winning decisions will make you money over the long run. The most basic decision in the game is whether or not to play a hand. Once you have decided to play a hand there are many small decisions in the course of a hand that will determine your success or failure. It is important to understand how these small decisions can impact your win rate.

A hand is made up of five cards – your two personal cards and the four community cards on the table. There are various ways to arrange these cards to create the highest ranking hand. For example, a straight hand is made up of a consecutive pair (such as 3 kings) or 4 of a kind (4 aces).

If you have the highest ranked hand then you will win the pot. However, you must keep in mind that your luck can turn at any time and you may find yourself losing a hand that you should have won. This is why it is important to learn how to fold correctly.

Another key point is to always be aggressive when you have a good drawing hand. This is where many novice players go wrong as they are too passive when they have a strong draw and will call every bet on the flop or check-raise their opponents instead of making their own move. When you know when to be aggressive you can put more pressure on your opponent and force them into a worse hand.