The Official Poker Rules

Poker is a game of chance, but it can also involve quite a bit of psychology. To ensure the game runs smoothly, there are some rules players must follow. These guidelines are meant to prevent situations that might lead to disputes or problems, and help the game remain fair and enjoyable for all involved.

The game’s betting limits determine how much a player can open or raise in each round. These limits come in four common forms: no limit, pot limit (the two collectively referred to as big bet poker), fixed limit, and spread limit. When a player opens the action by making a bet in a betting round, other players may call or raise this amount.

Players must not attempt to hide their stakes from other players, but must reveal them if asked. This is especially important when playing in a tournament. To avoid disputes, it is suggested that players use their hands or another object on top of their cards to protect them.

During heads-up play raising is unlimited, but in other hands it is capped at one or two bets per player. When a player calls in this situation but suspects their opponent is bluffing, this is known as a hero call.

In formal games it is customary to make change between hands, but casinos usually discourage this practice in order to prevent players from ratholing (stealing and securing part of the stakes for their own benefit) or circumventing buy-in limits. In addition, the dealer must be able to clearly and easily identify the value of each chip they handle in order to prevent confusion.