The Basics of Official Poker

Official poker is played in one of two formats – tournament or cash game (AKA ring game). Both types have their own set of rules. As the game of poker has become an international phenomenon and more players travel to different destinations for play, there has been increasing interest in establishing a standard set of rules that all players can understand.

In most poker games players compete for an amount of money or chips contributed by all players themselves – called the pot. Each player places his or her bet into the pot by placing the chips they wish to wager in front of them. A player may fold, call (match the amount of the bet made by the person to their left), or raise a bet.

A dealer button (typically a white plastic disk) indicates the nominal dealer of the hand and moves one position clockwise after each hand. Each time a hand is dealt, the player to the left of the button must post a small blind ($1 minimum) and the player after that must pay the big blind ($2 minimum). These mandatory “blind bets” help create action in the game.

During the course of play a predetermined percentage of players win a prize based on how well they do in the tournament. The percentage is not standardized, but the general rule of thumb is that only 10% or less of the field will receive any money in a typical tournament.