The game of poker is a card game where you place bets with your chips against those of the other players. There are 7 cards to work with: the two personal cards in your hand and the five community cards on the table. A winning strategy is based on careful consideration of all of these individual factors, including the history of your opponents at your table; your position in the current hand; and bet sizing.
The position you have in a poker hand dictates almost everything. A good player is aware of this and plays according to the positional advantage they hold. For example, sitting to the left of a loose player will allow you to isolate them by raising their big bets with your strong hands. It will also let you see how they play each street of betting and give you a clear advantage for the duration of the hand.
It’s not always possible to avoid losing money when playing poker, but there are things you can do to reduce the impact of variance. One of the most important is bankroll management – only risking a percentage of your buy-in that you can afford to lose. This allows you to make tough decisions throughout a poker session without fear of running out of money and makes it easier to keep calm when you do get unlucky. Another way to manage variance is to focus on your mental game, especially learning how to cope with downswings.