Poker is a card game in which players place bets into a central pot according to the strength of their hands. A hand consists of five cards. While some of the outcome of any particular hand involves luck, in the long run winning hands are those that have positive expected value and those that are bluffed by opponents. Players can also win by putting in bets that other players do not call.

When a player’s turn comes around, they can choose to check, raise or fold their cards. Generally, the check option means that they will bet the same amount as the previous player. The raise option means that they will increase the amount that they are betting. If they raise, the other players must either match their bet or fold their cards.

If they don’t have a strong hand, it is often better to check and avoid the temptation to bet big. This is because there is no point in trying to build a large pot when you have a weak hand, as other players will likely be scared off and fold their cards. However, if they have a strong opening hand such as a pair of Kings or Aces, it is often best to bet aggressively. This will force other players to think twice about going head-to-head against you. They may even fear a bluff, making them cough up their cards for the pot. It is also important to pay attention to subtle physical tells.