Poker is a game of chance, but it also relies on a lot of skill and psychology. It requires you to evaluate the odds of other players’ hands and make decisions under uncertainty, which is a valuable skill for life and business.

There is a round of betting after everyone gets 2 cards from the dealer. These bets are called blinds and they are mandatory so there is a pot for people to play in. Once the bets are made, you decide whether to hit, stay or double up. When you say hit, the dealer will give you another card. If you think that your hand has good value, then stay. If not, then double up.

One of the most important skills in poker is to read other players. This means paying attention to their subtle physical poker tells, as well as observing patterns in their behavior. For example, if someone raises their bets often it is likely that they are holding strong hands. Likewise, if someone folds often they are probably playing crappy cards.

It takes concentration to pay attention to all of this information and act accordingly. This is why regular poker training is so beneficial for the brain. It improves your focus, and makes it easier to read other players’ tells and body language. It also helps you learn how to calculate pot odds and percentages, and develop more strategies. In addition to these benefits, poker may even delay degenerative neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.