Poker is a game that involves betting and a lot of decision-making. It’s a great way to develop your decision-making skills and learn how to weigh risk against reward. You’ll also learn how to calculate odds and probabilities, which can help you in a variety of other situations in life.

A big mistake that many beginners make is to play too conservatively. This means they are only calling bets on strong value hands and don’t try to make their opponents fold by bluffing. While this is a good starting point, it can leave you vulnerable to being exploited by other players.

To avoid this, you should always bet and raise when you have a strong value hand and are in position to do so. You should also try to get involved with speculative hands that can have a big upside if they hit. This can be difficult when playing from early positions and the blinds, but it’s a key strategy to help you become a winning player.

When you’re in late position, it’s important to be able to control the size of the pot. You can do this by raising the ante or calling bets. This allows you to inflate the pot when you have a strong value hand and keep it small when you’re playing with weaker ones. You can also exercise some pot control by checking your opponent’s bets to give them a false sense of security.