The Official Poker Rules

Like many other sports and games, poker has a formal set of rules that govern how it is played. These are largely managed by the Tournament Directors Association, or TDA. TDA is a worldwide organization that works to create consistency in poker tournament rules and help prevent misunderstandings among players.

In addition to regulating game rules, TDA also oversees the integrity of professional poker tournaments. The TDA has over 2,500 members, including managers of large live and online poker rooms, circuits or leagues, and independent tournament organizers. They meet every two years to discuss and implement changes to the rules of poker.

Most poker is played with chips rather than actual money. Each chip has a specific value, allowing players to communicate information with one another. The values assigned to chips vary slightly from establishment to establishment, but they tend to be consistent across casinos and home games. For example, a white chip is generally worth the minimum ante or bet; a red chip may be worth five whites; and a blue chip might be worth 10 or 20 or 25 whites.

In most cases, each player is required to place a forced bet before seeing their cards. This is called the “button.” The player to their left places a smaller bet than the big blind, and the player to their right places a larger bet than the small blind. The dealer then deals each player two cards face down. The players must then decide whether to call the other players’ bets or fold their hands.