The Basic Rules of Official Poker

Poker is a game of chance, but also requires a lot of skill. The game is played in private homes, poker clubs, and casinos throughout the world. In the United States, it is considered the national card game, and its play and jargon pervade popular culture.

The basic rules of official poker are easy to learn, but the game’s subtleties and complexities require a substantial investment of time and energy in order to play well. Whether the game is played casually for pennies or professionally for thousands of dollars, all players should be aware of the basic rules and policies.

Generally, one player is designated as the banker; he or she keeps track of how many chips have been issued to each player and records either the amount of cash paid for the chips or the number of chips returned to the dealer when they are won. Private transactions and exchanges of chips among players are prohibited. A player who wishes to purchase more chips may obtain them only from the banker (Rule 36).

Each hand is divided into a number of betting intervals, as specified by the rules of the particular poker variant being played. At the end of each betting interval, a player with the best poker hand wins the pot.

All players are entitled to a reasonable estimation of opponents’ chip stacks when it is their turn to act, and the dealer or floor should count the stacks on request. However, a player who is all-in and has a hidden chip behind his or her player button is not required to reveal it to opponents unless it is the winning poker hand.