Poker is a card game played by two or more people, where players wager real money on the value of their cards. It’s a game of skill, strategy and chance, and is a source of recreation and even livelihood for many around the world.

To become a good poker player, you must commit to several things: smart game selection (choosing the proper limits and games for your bankroll), discipline to avoid distractions or boredom during a session, patience to wait for optimal hands and correct position, and mental toughness to stay calm when losing. You also need to learn the fundamentals of the game and develop your own style of play.

In the game of poker, players place their bets into a pot at the beginning of each hand and then receive a set of cards. The highest hand wins the pot. Players can call, raise or fold. Typically, the betting goes clockwise from one player to the next.

A good poker player knows how to read other players. Look for tells like shallow breathing, sighing, nostrils flaring, eyes watering or blinking excessively, shaking hands, and an increasing pulse seen in the neck or temple. Some players stare at their chips when the flop comes, which is usually a sign that they have a strong hand.

A good poker player is patient and can calculate pot odds. They also have a solid understanding of probability and know when to raise or fold. They can spot bad players and avoid playing against them when possible, and they’re able to adjust their strategies when necessary. They also keep accurate records of their winnings and losses, and pay taxes on their gambling income.