Poker is a card game played by two to seven players. It is a game of chance, but skill can improve your chances of winning. There are also a number of benefits to playing poker, including learning how to control your emotions in high-stress situations and developing critical thinking skills.

The word poker comes from the French phrase meaning “to see” or “to examine.” In poker, each player must examine his or her cards before deciding how to play the hand. The aim is to make a good poker hand by matching the rank of your cards with those of other players. This is done by betting, raising or folding. A poker hand consists of two cards in the face up position and four in the down position. It can include one or more suits. A jack is the lowest card and an ace the highest.

If the person to your left raises the ante and it is your turn, say “I call.” This means you want to bet the same amount as the last player.

To be successful in poker you must learn to develop quick instincts and think strategically. This is especially important if you are competing with experienced players who know how to read newcomers and exploit their weaknesses. Beginners should practice by playing poker with friends and also observe experienced players to learn how to read their body language and other tells. This will help them to stay ahead of their rivals.