The Official Poker Rules

The game of poker combines a fair amount of chance with a significant element of skill and psychology. Although luck plays a major role in most hands, players who make sound decisions and learn to read their opponents will win more often than those who do not. A good strategy will increase your chances of winning by being unpredictable, betting wisely and knowing when to raise or fold. You can read books on poker strategy to become more familiar with these topics, or better yet, find other winning players and play with them!

Poker is played with a fixed number of chips. Any player who wishes to change the amount of his or her chips must notify a floorperson. The table’s betting limit may not be raised without the consent of the other players at the table and a written request to management. Changing the betting limits may also result in the forfeiture of the table’s winnings.

In Texas hold ’em (and many other variants) each player receives two cards face down, called his or her hole cards, and then five community cards are dealt in three stages: the first three cards (“the flop”), a single card (“the turn”) and a final card (“the river” or “fifth street”). Players can bet by checking, calling the bet of another player, raising, or folding.

The rules in this section are adapted from the “Robert Rules of Poker” by Robert Ciaffone, the acknowledged authority on cardroom rules. This book is available for anyone to copy and distribute, with the caveat that the text be not sold for profit and credit given where it is due.