What are mining pools and how do they work?

Mining pools are groups of miners who combine their computational resources to increase their chances of successfully solving a block and receiving rewards. When miners work together in a pool, they do not have to compete against each other for rewards, as all blocks are shared amongst the group. The rewards are then split amongst the group members proportionally to their amount of effort. Each pool has its own method for determining this distribution, such as Pay-per-Share (PPS), Pay-per-Last-N-Shares (PPLNS), or Proportional reward system. All miners in a pool are usually required to install specific mining software and connect to a specific pool address.