Poker is a card game that requires skill and strategy to win. It is played between two players and a dealer, and the goal is to form a five-card hand. A good poker hand requires both a strong starting hand and luck. However, the player’s actions can also influence the outcome of the hand.

The best poker players know how to balance risk and expected value. This involves understanding the basic math and percentages behind the game, and it also includes learning to spot other players’ tells. Tells can include nervous habits, such as fiddling with chips or a ring, or even a person’s posture and voice.

Another key aspect of the game is knowing how much to bet in a given situation. This is a process that takes into account previous action, the number of players still in the hand, stack depth and pot odds. Many beginners overlook this aspect of poker strategy, and they often make costly mistakes when betting too high or too low.

As a newbie, it is important to learn how to play conservatively and only raise with strong hands. This will help you avoid expensive losses while building your skills. Once you have a solid foundation, you can begin experimenting with more advanced concepts such as bluffing. It is also important to practice and observe experienced players, as this will build your quick instincts.