Poker is a card game in which players place bets (representing money) into a common pot based on the relative value of their hand. Although countless variations of poker exist, most share some fundamental similarities. In most games, each player starts with two personal cards and may then add to or replace them during one or more betting rounds.
The object of the game is to win the pot, or aggregate sum of all bets placed during a single deal. While the result of any particular hand involves a significant degree of chance, a skilled player can reduce his or her losses by taking action on the basis of probability, psychology, and game theory.
A good poker player understands that it’s a game of skill, not luck. He or she plays tight, is aggressive when he has a strong hand, and avoids calling with hands that don’t have sufficient value to justify the risk. He or she also has a keen sense of playable and unplayable hands.
A bad poker player will often have a “bad beat.” This occurs when he or she makes a great call or raise in the early stages of the hand, and then suffers a terrible flop that completely destroys his or her chances to win. Bad beats are maddening because they are so predictable and demoralizing. They lead to long rants about how the game is rigged, or ANGRY COMMENTS ALL CAPS in online discussion forums, neither of which help.