Poker is a card game that involves chance, but it’s also a game of skill and endurance. It also encourages social interaction and provides a good way to relax with friends. The best players have several skills that help them win: patience, reading other players, and adaptability. They know how to calculate pot odds and percentages, and they set bankrolls both for each session and over the long run.

One of the most important aspects of poker is knowing how to hide your emotions. You cannot let your opponents see your face or body language which would give away clues about the cards that you may have in your hand. This is why you must always keep a “poker face”.

When playing poker, each player has chips (representing money) that he or she can use to bet on each deal. A player wishing to stay in the pot must make his or her total stake equal to or higher than that of the player before him. This is called the matching method.

A player who raises the stakes may be forcing players with drawing hands (that need cards to make a winning hand) to fold or it can be a strategic move to bluff. Raising may also scare weaker players in to folding and narrow the field, making it more difficult for other players to bluff successfully.