Official poker is a card game played by two or more players in either a tournament or cash game (AKA ring game). It’s a complex game that requires both luck and skill, but it’s also a fun social activity. There are many variations of the game, but all share certain basic rules. In addition to the standard game rules, a club or group of players may establish “house” rules that suit their particular preferences and game style.
To begin a hand, each player “buys in” by paying a set amount of money in chips. This number of chips varies, depending on the game type and stakes. The players then sit at a table and receive cards. The player to the right of the button (typically a white plastic disk) has the right to deal a hand.
If a player is absent from the table, the dealer must place a chip on the button to mark him as such. The player to his left must then post the small blind, and the player after him must post the big blind. These forced bets (“blinds”) help to give players something to chase, and they are an important part of the game.
Once the blinds are posted, the remaining players expose their hole cards and determine a winner. This process is known as a showdown. A winning hand must consist of at least a pair of cards and must rank higher than any other hand. The player with the highest-ranked hand wins the pot.