Poker is a game of cards in which players place chips into a pot for betting purposes. The rules of poker vary from one variant to the next, but there are a few important things that all players should keep in mind.
Observe the behavior of other players to learn their tendencies and to build quick instincts. You can do this by watching experienced players and imagining how you would react in their position. This will help you to develop your own strategy, which is more valuable than a set of complicated rules.
When you are playing poker, it is important to avoid being overly aggressive. Especially in early positions, you should play tight and open only with strong hands. On later betting streets, however, you can open a wider range of hands and make bluffs more often.
It is normal that better players will move up into higher stakes, while weaker players will choose to play for lower levels. This self-selection into different stakes is not unique to poker and can also be observed in other games, such as chess or bridge.
After the dealer shuffles, each player places their forced bets (the ante and blind bet) into the pot. A special fund, called the kitty, is usually established by each player who “cuts” into a pot. The kitty contains a number of low-denomination chips, such as white or red chips, that are worth the minimum ante or bet.