Poker is one of the most popular card games in the world, both at home and on the casino floor. It can be a fun and challenging game for even the most experienced player, but it’s important to understand the rules and how to play before getting started.

To start with, you should study some charts to learn what hands beat what. Knowing that a flush beats a straight, for example, will help you decide whether or not to call when your opponent raises. This knowledge will help you make better decisions at the table and increase your chances of winning.

Next, you should learn how to read tells. This is especially crucial if you’re playing in person. It’s important to know if your opponent is holding a strong hand or just bluffing. This will allow you to play your cards differently and take advantage of their mistakes.

Aside from recognizing your opponents’ tells, you should also focus on reading the game’s rules and identifying good starting hands. This will help you avoid bad habits and make more profitable decisions at the table.

You should also try to play your strong value hands aggressively, so that you can get the most value out of them. This means betting and raising often when you expect your hand to be ahead of your opponent’s calling range. It also means bluffing occasionally, but only when you think your opponents have a reasonable chance of folding.