In a poker game players place chips into the pot that their opponents must match in order to play. They can also raise the bet, which adds more money to the pot. The highest hand wins the pot. Some games have a fixed number of rounds; others use different betting methods.

A good strategy is to try to force weaker hands out of the pot early in the game by raising. This can help you build a better hand later on. But, if you have a great hand, don’t be afraid to fold. There’s no point in continuing to put money at a hand that isn’t going to win.

Besides the initial forced bets, money is only placed into the pot by players who think it has positive expected value. The actions that players take are based on a combination of probability, psychology and game theory.

It’s possible to make a living from poker, but it requires a lot of practice and skill. You have to be able to read your opponents and make adjustments based on their behavior. A good strategy will increase your chances of winning, but even the best player can have a bad streak.