Poker is a card game played by two or more players and involves betting. The game has a wide variety of strategies and tactics. Many books written by experienced poker players delve into the theory of the game.

During a poker tournament, players can become very aggressive when it comes to protecting their stacks. This is because the competition in a tournament is much more intense than in regular play. In order to stay ahead of the competition, you should implement timely aggression and be careful not to overplay your hand.

The first step to playing poker is familiarizing yourself with the rules. You should understand the different types of hands, betting rounds, and critical terminology. Once you are familiar with the basics, you can start to focus on your strategy and tactics.

Before the cards are dealt, a player is required to place an initial amount of money into the pot. These amounts are known as forced bets.

During the pre-flop stage, it is best to bet in small increments, such as 10% of your stack or less. This allows your opponents to get an idea of the strength of your hand. After the flop, it is important to know when to bluff. A good bluff will be enough to scare off a strong player and you should only call if you have a high chance of making your hand. Otherwise, you should fold. This prevents you from throwing good money after bad.