Poker is a card game in which players make bets based on the strength of their cards and the chances that other players have certain hands. The game requires a combination of strategic thinking, math skills, and emotional control. Even the best poker players experience downswings and bad beats. However, there are ways to minimize the impact of variance by using bankroll management and working on your mental game.

One of the most important aspects of poker strategy is understanding how to read your opponents. You can do this by watching their betting patterns and learning to spot tells. Tells can include anything from fidgeting with their chips to a nervous tic. It’s also important to learn the different betting structures of poker, including fixed limit, no-limit, and pot-limit.

Another aspect of poker strategy is knowing when to play and when to fold. This means having a solid starting hand range and playing it aggressively in the right situations. A good starting range is pocket pairs, suited aces, and broadway hands. In addition, you should be careful about opening in EP and MP position, as you’ll need to tighten your range a bit.

Finally, you should always try to play your hands in late position. This gives you more information about your opponent’s hand and allows you to control the size of the pot. It also prevents you from getting bluffed out of a strong hand by players who have weaker hands.