Poker is a card game in which players place bets during one or more betting intervals (depending on the variant being played), and try to form the best possible hand based on the rules of the game. The goal is to win the “pot,” which is the sum total of all bets placed during a deal.

A good poker player has several skills. They need to be able to calculate pot odds and percentages quickly and quietly, as well as read other players. They also need to commit to studying their results and learning from their mistakes. In addition, they must be able to choose the right limits and games for their bankroll. Finally, they must be able to maintain discipline in the face of boredom or frustration.

The divide between break-even beginner players and big-time winners is not as wide as some people think, and it often boils down to making a few simple adjustments that can make a huge difference. A big part of this is changing your mindset and viewing poker from a cold, logical, mathematical perspective instead of from an emotional and superstitious one.

Reading other players is an important skill that can be learned over time by watching and playing against experienced players. This includes being able to recognize and understand their tells (eye movements, idiosyncrasies, hand gestures, and betting behavior). It is also helpful to learn about the different strengths and weaknesses of poker hands and be able to evaluate a given situation in light of these variables.