Poker is a card game of strategy and chance, played by two or more players. Its rules and history span centuries, and it is now one of the most popular games in the world, both online and in live casinos. There are many different forms of the game, but the basic objective is to win a pot by making the highest-ranking hand. The pot is composed of all bets placed by all players in a given deal. A player may also place additional bets to raise the stakes.

One of the most important aspects of the game is observing your opponent’s stack size and playing your hands accordingly. This is particularly true in tournament play. Short stacked players typically have very limited options and must call any bet with a decent hand, while deep stacked opponents can afford to take more risks with their hands.

In addition to observing stack sizes, it’s also important to monitor the players’ moods and their general demeanor. A study found that amateur poker players allowed their emotions to distract them and often lost control of their games. By contrast, expert players tended to keep their emotions under control and used self-control techniques like mental training to improve their performance.

Another key aspect is staying aggressive, especially late into an event. The best way to increase your chances of winning is to put pressure on your opponents by raising their bets when you have a strong value hand. This will help you inflate the pot on later betting streets and trap your opponents into calling your re-raises with weak or marginal hands.