Poker is a card game played with a small group of people around a table. Each player has a stack of chips that represent money. The chips are numbered and colored. White chips are worth one ante or bet; red ones are worth five whites; and blue chips are worth 10 whites. The player who has the highest hand wins the pot.

Taking risks is important in poker—and life. If you’re afraid to lose, you’ll miss opportunities where a moderate amount of risk could lead to a big reward. But you can’t be a good poker player, or a good person in general, without learning how to manage risk.

There are several ways to build your comfort with risk: Start by taking smaller risks in lower-stakes situations for the learning experience, and gradually increase the size of those bets. Then learn to recognize when your odds are getting worse. If your chances of winning a hand are diminishing, it’s time to fold.

There are many different types of hands in poker, but the most valuable is a royal flush (A, K, Q, J, and 10 of the same suit); four of a kind (four cards of the same number or picture); straight (five cards in a sequence, all of the same suit); and three of a kind (three cards of the same number or picture). Often, you can improve your hand by bluffing. This is a skill that requires careful thought and execution.