Poker is a card game where players place money into the pot voluntarily. The outcome of any specific hand involves some chance, but the long-run expectations of players are determined by actions chosen on the basis of probability, psychology and game theory.

The game begins with the dealer dealing everyone two cards face down. After this each player has a choice of whether to hit, stay or double up. A good rule to remember is that you should never double up unless you have at least one pair, or three unrelated cards (such as 3s). If you don’t like your cards then say “stay” and the dealer will give you another card.

After the betting round is complete, the dealer puts three more cards on the table which anyone can use, this is known as the flop. After the flop betting starts again and you should try to reduce the number of players that you play against as this will make it less likely that someone will have a better hand than yours.

Top players often fast-play their strong hands in order to build the pot and discourage others from calling re-raises with weak hands. They also try to minimise their risk by playing from late position, which gives them a better chance of manipulating the pot on later betting streets. Lastly, they always try to minimise their losses by playing smart, especially when facing an aggressive opponent. By following these tips you can improve your chances of winning big at poker.