Poker is a game of chance, but it can also be a game of skill. Even the best players get bad beats, but they can minimize these losses by using bankroll management and playing against opponents they have a skill edge over. They can also improve their physical and mental games by studying tells, reading other players’ mood shifts, tracking how long it takes them to make decisions, and learning to analyze their own game.

Poker strategy requires a lot of study and practice. Players should spend time studying hand rankings, the basic rules of the game, and the impact of their position at the table on their chances of winning a hand. They should also spend time analyzing their own game, either through detailed self-examination or by discussing their results with other players.

The main skill in poker is understanding how to read your opponent’s body language and facial expressions. This is particularly important in live poker, where you can see your opponents’ tells. It is also vital to understand the importance of bet size and position, especially when bluffing.

It is also important to avoid mistakes such as holding your cards below the table. This looks suspicious and could be a sign that you are trying to mark your cards or cheat in some way. It is also important to be careful not to expose any of your cards before the dealer has a chance to reshuffle and recut them.