The Official Poker Rules

Poker is one of the world’s most popular card games, played in private homes, poker clubs, and casinos as well as over the Internet. It has been described as the national card game of the United States, and its play and jargon permeate American culture.

The official rules of poker require a certain level of behavior and a specific vocabulary to ensure the fairness of play for all players. Players must clearly indicate their intentions by using standard, unmistakable betting terms such as bet, raise, call, and fold. In addition, players must be at their seat when the cards are dealt on the initial deal and may not reveal their hand to another player while in a hand. Using nonstandard betting terms or gestures is at the player’s own risk and may result in a ruling other than that intended.

In the early days of poker, there was only a single pack of 52 cards used for the game, but today, two packs of contrasting colors are usually utilized to speed up play and improve the quality of dealing. A dealer button (a small white plastic disk) is rotated among the players to identify a nominal dealer for each hand.

By common agreement, the players may establish a fund known as the “kitty” from which to purchase additional decks of cards and pay for food and drinks when necessary. When a poker game ends, any chips remaining in the kitty are divided equally among the players still in the hand.