As poker has grown into a truly international game, there is growing interest in establishing a consistent set of official rules. These would be standardized across all locations where the game is played, and could help avoid confusion and misunderstandings.
One player acts as dealer (in a casino this is provided for you). The two players to the left of the dealer put in forced bets called the small blind and the big blind respectively. These chips go into the pot before cards are dealt (if there is no ante in place). Players then receive two cards face down. These are known as the hole cards. Players can then choose to call, raise or fold.
The aim of the game is to make a best five-card hand from their own two hole cards and the five community cards. The best hand wins the pot. The game is played in rounds, with each round having a fixed amount of betting. The last player with chips in the pot wins the game.
In tournaments, players buy-in for a fixed number of chips which represent their actual bankroll. They can then win a share of the prize pool depending on how they finish in the event. Tournaments can be played with different types of limits but the most common are pot limit and fixed limit.
To be a successful poker player, it takes several skills beyond just knowledge of the game. Discipline and perseverance are essential, as is a sharp focus. This allows you to ignore distractions and stay focused on the game at hand. You also need to commit to a smart game selection, choosing the proper games and limits for your bankroll.