The Official Poker Rules

Poker is a card game where players can bet on the strength of their hands. There is a lot of luck involved, but the game also requires a great deal of skill in order to minimize losses with poor hands and maximize wins with good ones. It is for this reason that there are a number of rules that must be followed in order to maintain the integrity of the game.

There are many different versions of the game of Poker, which can be played socially for pennies or matchsticks or professionally for thousands of dollars in a casino. Depending on the rules, one player acts as dealer (or button). All other players must place an initial contribution to the pot, which is called an ante. Once this is done, all players receive two cards face down. The first player clockwise from the button will then receive an odd chip; if there is a high-low split game, this chip will be distributed as in the high hand.

By mutual agreement, the players may establish a fund called a kitty. This is generally used to pay for new decks of cards or food and drinks. Any chips in the kitty that a player leaves with before the end of the game are forfeited. Players must always verbally state their intention to call, raise, fold or check before they take any action. If they do not, they are breaking the rules and could be removed from the tournament.