Whether you play poker in a club or card room, at home, or in a casino or tournament setting, the official rules of poker are important to follow. These laws help to ensure fair and consistent game play for all players. They do not necessarily prohibit local customs or preferences, but should be followed unless otherwise stated in the poker law. In addition, it is not uncommon for a group of players to make their own house rules, although these should be written down and agreed upon.
In the game of poker, individuals compete for an amount of money or chips contributed by all players in a single betting interval, called the pot. Almost all establishments that host poker games require players to exchange currency for poker chips, which do not represent actual dollar amounts but provide a way for all participants to understand their relative values. Tournaments often report chip counts by prefacing them with T$ (for “Tournament $”).
Each player must place in the pot a number of chips (representing money) equal to or greater than the total contribution made by all players before him during a betting interval. A player who wishes to remain in the pot without placing any additional money may do so by checking provided no one else has raised a bet during that betting interval.
All cards used in the game of poker are dealt from a standard pack of 52 cards, and most games also include two jokers for use as wild cards. The rank of a poker hand is determined by its combination of cards, with the highest ranking poker hands beating lower poker hands.