Poker is an interesting game that tests a player’s analytical, mathematical and interpersonal skills. It’s also a way for students to learn and practice decision-making under uncertainty, which is a key skill in finance and other areas of life. The most important traits of a poker player are patience, reading other players, and adaptability.

To make decisions under uncertainty, it’s necessary to estimate the probabilities of different outcomes. In poker, this involves evaluating what other players might hold and how they might bet. For example, if you have a pair of kings and your opponent has a pair of jacks, you can estimate that your pair will win 82% of the time. However, if your opponent’s pair of jacks is higher than yours, they will have a better chance of winning the hand.

Another factor in determining whether a call is profitable is knowing how to read an opponent’s tells. These are unconscious habits that reveal information about a player’s hands, such as body language and facial expressions. They can be as simple as a change in posture or gesture, but they can be very telling.

While a winning hand of poker involves some element of chance, the long-run expectations of the players are determined by their actions chosen on the basis of probability, psychology and game theory. They also develop a strategy by reviewing their own past results and studying the strategies of other poker players. They also commit to making smart games selections, such as choosing the proper limits and participating in games that are profitable.