Playing poker is all about decisions. Although luck is, of course, a part of poker, as it is in all kinds of games, poker is not all about luck. This can probably be said in other games as well, that the difference in winning and losing is the way you play. For instance, if you get good cards in a game but you do not know how to use it to win, then most probably you will lose.
Usually the most experienced in playing poker wins. The most experienced poker player has an advantage than the less experienced, because he/she knows which decisions he/she should make, and knows how the minds of his/her opponents work.
In poker, observation goes with practice. You can win by playing hands better than your opponents. For this, you have to observe closely your opponents, to see if they are good in playing hands as you would play the same hand. You also have to decide how much you are going to put in the pot, and whether to take risks or not.
Again, good decisions when it comes to betting is a big part in winning in poker. It is important to always think of the odds. Some opponents will just lay money without thinking much of the odds. If you choose not to lay money because you do not have the proper odds, then you will gain. If, say, you have the biggest chance of winning the hand, then perhaps you can put a big sum of money in the pot, knowing that you will win. But if you know you have a very small chance, and you can win a thousand dollars, of course it is unwise to put in another thousand, because you should know you will lose it.
Another important thing to consider, as already mentioned earlier, is reading your opponents' mind. There is nothing extraordinary about this; it does not take a true mind-reader to do this in poker. A good poker player observes his/her opponents: do they bluff? Are they usually confident with their hand? Do they usually win by bluffing? It usually takes lots of experience to become a very good poker player, because he/she should have played with many players before, and had observed different tactics and techniques.
However, always keep in mind that playing poker at home is not exactly the same as playing in a casino or a tournament. At home, it is probably easy for you to bluff or read your friends' minds, but outside, poker is a completely different game. There are higher stakes, more prizes and more prestige in tournaments. Every move of a player should be carefully thought of and analyzed. Skills mentioned above should be used more often in tournaments and competitions than at home.