When it comes to poker, you need quick instincts — and a lot of practice. You also need to be able to read other players and pick up on their tells, such as facial expressions, body language and betting behavior.

The game is played with two to seven players and a standard 52-card deck, with one or more jokers (wild cards). There are many variants of poker. The most popular is Texas hold’em, in which players are dealt two cards and five community cards are dealt in stages known as the flop, turn and river. Players can then bet or fold, and the winner of each hand takes the pot.

One of the most important things to learn as a new poker player is how to assess a winning hand and how to make bets that will give them the best chance to win. This requires learning to take risks and be comfortable with the fact that some of those risks will fail. Developing comfort with taking risk can be a lifelong process, but it is important to learn to recognize when your odds of making a good hand are diminishing and to make the right decisions accordingly.

Jenny Just, a self-made billionaire and co-founder of PEAK6 Investments, learned the importance of risk management and strategic thinking in poker — skills that she says have translated well to her career as a financial executive and businesswoman. She recommends that people aspiring to achieve success in other areas of their lives should try playing poker to improve their skill sets and develop the same type of risk-taking mentality.