If you want to win at poker, you must be able to read other players and understand the game theory. You must also have a solid plan B in case your rivals figure out your strategy and try to adjust theirs. This takes time to learn and requires practice. But even if you do everything right, luck plays a huge role in the game and it can make or break your bankroll.

A good starting hand is a pair of kings, queens or aces. These are premium cards and you should play them aggressively. Many novices check too much or call when they should be raising. This is one of the main reasons why they lose money.

After the betting phase is over, each player will reveal their hands. The player with the best hand wins the pot. If no player has a winning hand, the money is shared among the remaining players.

Poker is a card game that relies on probability, psychology and game theory. It’s important to have a strong understanding of statistics, frequencies and expected value estimation in order to improve your game. It’s also crucial to be able to keep your emotions under control.

One of the main differences between break-even beginner players and big-time winners is that the latter tend to view the game in a more cold, detached, mathematical and logical way. This enables them to identify the mistakes of other players and punish them.