Poker is a game of chance, but it also involves skill and psychology. The player makes decisions in the long run based on expected value and probability. While luck can play a significant role, the majority of the money that goes into a pot is placed voluntarily by players who believe that a bet will have positive expected value.
A successful poker player must be able to control his or her emotions. If an unfiltered expression of anger or stress is shown, the negative consequences could be devastating. Poker teaches players how to control their emotions and stay in the moment. This is a useful skill that can be applied to other aspects of life.
It is important to protect your stack as much as possible in poker. This means avoiding raising with mediocre hands and only doing so when the odds of making a good hand are high. It is also important to exercise pot control by limiting your bets when you have a strong value hand. This way, you can force weaker opponents out of the hand and increase the value of your bets.
A good poker player constantly tweaks his or her strategy. There was a time, back during the Moneymaker boom, when there were only a few poker forums worth visiting and a limited number of books that deserved to be read. Now, there are a seemingly infinite number of poker forums and a huge variety of software to help you develop your strategy.