Poker is a card game in which players wager money against each other based on the cards they have. It is a game of chance, but there are a number of strategies which can increase a player’s chances of winning.

The goal is to win the pot, which is the sum of all the bets made in a given deal. This is done by having the best poker hand at the showdown. The pot may also be won by bluffing. A bluff is a deceptive strategy in which a player makes a bet with a weak hand in the hope of making superior hands call his bets.

Before the betting starts, a player must make a forced bet, usually an ante or blind bet. The dealer then shuffles the cards and offers them to the player on his right for a cut. Once the player cuts, the deal begins and the first of what may be several betting streets take place.

On later betting streets, players can use the information from previous rounds to adjust their bet sizes and make more aggressive decisions. It is important to note that aggression can be a great way to manipulate the pot in poker, but it is crucial not to over-aggressive as this can quickly lead to a loss of liquidity.

It is also important to learn about players’ betting styles and read them. For example, a conservative player will often fold early in a hand and can be easily bluffed by more aggressive players.