A few basic poker skills will help you get started in the game. This includes being disciplined and learning to focus. It also involves knowing the limits you can afford to play, finding profitable games and playing them with confidence.

Having a solid understanding of how poker hands rank is important as it helps you know what hands you can beat and what ones you should avoid. For example, a straight is 5 cards of consecutive rank in one suit, while a full house is 3 matching cards of the same rank and 2 matching cards of another rank. Pairs are two cards of the same rank, while three of a kind is three matching cards of the same rank and one unmatched card. The highest card breaks ties.

In addition to focusing on your own poker skills, you must learn to read the players around you. This includes studying their tells and analyzing their betting patterns. For instance, if you notice that an opponent is always calling smaller bets, it’s likely that they are holding a strong hand. This is a weakness that you can exploit.

You should also learn to be more aggressive, especially when you have a good poker hand. For instance, if you have a decent poker hand and your opponents call the preflop bets, raise your own. This way you can price the weaker hands out of the pot and improve your chances of winning.