Poker is a game of chance, but it also requires a lot of skill and psychology to play well. It’s not uncommon to see a good player get lucky once or twice, but over the long term they will win more often than they lose. Poker also teaches you to be patient and how to read other people.

Observation is a key facet of poker, you need to be able to recognise tells and changes in your opponents’ behaviour and body language. This requires concentration, and can help you to make better decisions in the future.

After the forced bets (ante and blind) are placed, the dealer shuffles the cards and deals them to the players one at a time, starting with the player on their left. The players then place their bets into a central pot.

The highest hand wins the pot. There are four categories of hands, High Hand (Ace-high), Pair, Flush and Straight. If two players have the same highest hand then the higher rank breaks the tie.

A poker game can be very stressful, and you will inevitably have losing hands. It is important to minimise your losses by extracting the most value from your winning hands and avoiding big mistakes. This is known as MinMaxing your EV. If you’re not getting any value from a hand, then it’s best to fold early and move on to the next one. This will prevent you from making bad decisions and wasting your money.

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