Poker is a game of chance, but you can learn to improve your chances of winning by understanding the basic rules and how the game is played. A good first step is to study hand rankings and basic poker strategies. Once you have a handle on those, watch experienced players and imagine how they’d react to the situations that you’re in. This will help you build your instincts and start building a solid poker strategy.

To play poker, you need to have a supply of chips. The basic chip is a white one, and it’s worth a single unit of the minimum ante or bet. Other colors, such as red, blue and green, represent larger units of chips. These chips are stacked in a pot and are used to make a bet or raise.

A basic understanding of the game’s betting structure will also help you understand how to play your cards better. It is important to know how to fold, call and raise in the correct manner. This is the key to mastering your poker skills.

Bluffing is an advanced technique that should be used sparingly, but it can be extremely effective in certain hands. When bluffing, it is imperative to be aware of your opponent’s betting tendencies and read their facial expressions. This will help you determine whether your bluff is likely to be called.

If you have a strong starting hand, such as a pair of Kings, you should bet aggressively to force your opponents to pay to see your cards. Nothing is worse than being beaten by a player with a pair of unconnected, low-ranking cards when you were holding the better hand.