The Basics of Poker Strategy

Poker is a card game where you compete against the dealer and other players to win a pot. Often times even the best players will get caught with a bad hand and will lose big. However, it is important to remember that this is part of the game and just keep playing. You will eventually learn how to make good decisions and you will start winning some money.

At the beginning of a hand, each player must place a bet (the amount varies by game). Then, the dealer deals five cards face-up on the table that everyone can use. This is called the flop. After this, betting goes around in a circle and each player decides whether to fold, call or raise.

If you raise, then you must pay a higher amount to stay in the hand and you are trying to force weaker hands out of the hand. If you say call, then you must put up the same amount as your opponent did. If you say fold, then you are throwing your hand away and you have no chance of winning the pot.

A good poker strategy is to always play your strongest hand pre-flop in EP, MP and FP positions. This will help you win a larger percentage of the time. It is also important to pay attention to your opponents and try to read them. Some of this comes from subtle physical tells, but most of it is simply based on patterns. For example, if a player is very conservative and tends to fold early then you can assume they are only playing strong hands.