Whether you’re playing poker in your home game or in the world of professional tournament play, there are certain rules that must be followed. For the most part these are based on combining a player’s two hole cards with the community cards to make the best possible 5-card hand. Some games may include more than two hole cards or play without the use of hole cards (play the board).
The most important thing to remember about official poker is that there are no exceptions to the rules. In other words, if the dealer decides to muck your hand or if another player peeks at his or her cards while you are looking, this is against the rules and not good sportsmanship.
In addition to the above, there are other nuances to poker that are often overlooked. For example, the order of betting in poker is determined by a token called a button or buck which rotates around the players after each hand. This is used to determine who acts as dealer and who has the right to act first.
Lastly, there are some common misconceptions about the antiquity of poker. Regardless of what many people claim, poker is not older than playing cards themselves, which are first positively attested to in 13th century China, though there are arguable connections to the earlier card games of India and Persia. Moreover, there is no evidence of poker being played before 1829, when it was referenced in published reminiscences by two unrelated witnesses.