The Official Poker Guide

A card game that involves betting and bluffing for money – played socially for pennies or matchsticks, professionally for thousands of dollars. There are hundreds of poker variations, and the game can be played as a tournament event or at home for fun.

The most common form of poker combines players’ five cards with the community cards dealt to make the best possible five-card hand. Other forms of poker allow a player to discard some or all of their own cards and be dealt replacements, such as draw and stud. A few early vying games, such as Three-Card Monte and Spit-in-the-Ocean, involve four cards only.

In a Dealer’s Choice game, the dealer names the form of poker to be played and establishes the ante. The game may also determine whether or not a player may use one or both jokers as wild cards. The dealer is not required to require any particular player to ante more than another, but a single player may not raise his or her own bet to the point of overturning the entire pot.

The game is played in a group or at the same table with a specified number of people, usually six to eight. Several rules are in place to ensure fair play and keep the game organized. One of the most important is that a player cannot discuss his or her strategy with other players, advisors, or spectators while action is pending. Similarly, a player must protect his or her cards by pushing them forward face down, not showing them to the other players or throwing them high (helicoptering).