In poker, players compete to form the highest ranking hand based on the cards in their possession, aiming to win the pot (the total of all bets placed during a single deal). While the luck factor in any particular hand does play a role, good players are able to weight their chances of winning the pot through careful consideration of game theory, psychology, and probability.
While there are many factors that can affect your success at the poker table, the most important one is consistent commitment to improving your game over time. This includes playing only with money that you are willing to lose and tracking your wins and losses. If you are serious about your poker career, then you should also spend a significant amount of time studying away from the table by reading strategy books.
Learn the basics of the game and how to read other players. A large percentage of your poker reads will not come from subtle physical tells, but rather from patterns. If a player is betting all the time then it is likely that they are playing some crappy hands. Conversely, if a player is folding all the time then they are probably only playing fairly strong hands.
Lastly, study your opponents by paying attention to their betting patterns. The most important thing to remember about poker is that the game changes constantly, so you must always be learning and improving your strategy.