Poker is a card game where you compete against other players to form the best 5 card hand using your own 2 cards and the five community cards. You can win the pot – the total sum of all bets placed during the hand – by having the highest ranking hand at the end of the betting round.

The most important skill in poker is learning how to read your opponents and understanding their ranges. A player’s range is the set of hands that they will call, raise or fold in a given situation. This can be worked out by reviewing a player’s previous hands and analysing their tendencies at the table. Some good players even discuss their own hands with other players for a more objective look at how they play.

A player can increase the amount of money in the pot by saying “raise.” The other players must either match or raise this new bet, or they can fold their cards. Alternatively, they can stay in the pot and try to equalize the amount of money that has already been staked.

In the pre-flop phase of the hand, it is a good idea to raise when you have a strong poker hand. This sends a message to other players that you have a strong hand and will discourage them from calling your bets with weak ones. It is also good to raise when you are bluffing, which can cause your opponents to fold when they have weak hands.