Poker is a card game in which players bet their chips. The game is primarily a competition of skill, but luck does play a role as well. It is important to learn poker etiquette, which includes respecting other players and the dealer. It is also important to know what tells other players are giving off, such as eye movements, idiosyncrasies, and betting patterns.

The game begins with two cards being dealt to each player. A round of betting then occurs, triggered by mandatory bets called blinds put into the pot by the 2 players to the left of the dealer. Players may choose to call that bet, raise it, or fold. If a player folds, they discard their cards and leave the betting behind for the next hand.

While luck can certainly change the course of a poker hand, it is often better to be patient and strike when your odds are in your favor. It is also important to remember that you must build your comfort level with risk-taking. If you are new to the game, it is a good idea to start with lower stakes and work your way up.

While poker is a game of chance, many players believe that they can improve their chances of winning by learning how to read their opponents’ body language and other tells. This is sometimes referred to as “table image” or “psychology of the game.” This is an important part of the game, and it can be a large part of the overall success of a player.